UPPER MARLBORO, Md. - For the seventh year in a row, Prince George's County has seen another significant drop in overall violent crime. The downward trend has county leaders praising the police and the community.
Overall violent crime has dropped 50 percent over the last seven years. Last year, that rate fell by 6.6 percent. Homicides are also down by 18 percent with police, solving 83 percent of the murders.
According to the FBI, the national homicide closure rate is around 60 percent.
The only increase was thefts from autos which rose 14 percent when compared to the same time last year.
State's Attorney Angela Alsobrooks praised not only the police for the lower numbers, but a more trusting community as well.
"There was a time that I remember not too long ago, that we put up cases that we thought were rock solid cases, we could have video, we could have witnesses, we had everything and got 'not guilty' because the community didn't trust us, so one of the things we have had to do and the smartest thing that has happened over the last seven years is that we are present we are a present part of this community."
"People know us, they don't know tell of us, they know us, and that has been so important to earn the trust of the community".
The State's Attorney says cases her prosecutors have been taking to court are much stronger with the technology now available, like cell phone records and surveillance cameras. Alsobrooks says convictions have gone up due to the quality of cases her prosecutors are taking to court.
Chief Hank Stawinski says the overall and continuing drop in violent crime started years ago with the strategic allocation of resources, which means watching closely where the crimes were being committed and taking steps to stop it.
The chief says working closely with the state's attorney and the sheriff's office is vital to the success in driving down crime.
"We run this department in real time -- I have talked about this before. Every morning at 9 o'clock and every afternoon at 2 o'clock, and all through the night leadership is constantly adjusting these resources," says Chief Stawinski.
"We are not where we are today in the aggregate, without the overwhelming support of the community in Prince George's County and their faith in us."
State's Attorney Alsobrooks says the county's cold case unit is doing so well that she has hired a new cold case prosecutor.