PALMER PARK, Md. - It has been a violent couple of weeks in Prince George's County. In eleven days, Prince George's County has had 12 homicides.
The latest series of killings has forced the Police Chief Hank Stawinski to order officers to patrol the county on 12-hour shifts – mapping out areas where the county has seen a saturation of violent crimes, property crimes, fatal collisions, increased disputes and increased loitering.
Chief Stawinski said the 12-hour shifts are taking place effective immediately and he called it a "temporary and measured response" to the county’s recent spate of violence.
“As of today, there is a one percent difference in violent crime this year versus last year,” Stawinski said. “We are still at fewer homicides by one this year than last year. So this isn’t a response to a huge spike. We are essentially flat. This is to ensure that lives of citizens, lives of officers, lives of Fire and EMS personnel are not jeopardized by these disputes that are evolving into violence.”
The recent homicides have struck a chord with the community. On Saturday, police were called to a home in Bowie where a man is accused of killing his stepfather and then posting a selfie with the body on social media.
On Sunday night, a shooting took place near a Popeyes restaurant in Suitland that claimed the lives of two men.
“In the majority of the cases, the individuals were known to one another,” said the police chief. “They are occurring over a wide geographic basis. That is why we are bringing all of the resources of the agency to bear.”
Chief Stawinski said he does not have an end date for the 12-hour shifts, but is confident the increased police presence will bring stability in the community and reduce the likelihood of more crime.