PALMER PARK, Md. - A troubling spike in violent crime in Prince George's County has leaders working toward change.
FOX 5's Maureen Umeh says a new summer crime initiative called Operation Heatwave is being put into place to help reverse the trend of violence.
At a virtual town hall Monday, acting Police Chief Malik Aziz said Operation Heatwave will prioritize reducing violent crime, enhancing community engagement, focusing on crime prevention and engaging with youth and seniors.
Umeh says police department data shows that as of June 21, the County has seen 63 homicides compared to 35 at the same time in 2020.
Aziz said there were more than 13,000 crimes in all of 2020 and said the department will provide extra manpower to crack down on things like traffic violators, street racing, violent crime and property theft.
Officers will also walk the streets and talk with residents and will explore checkpoints -- although set locations have not been determined.
"We've looked at our numbers and the stats - because the stats indicate something that can be real or something that can be perceived. And when they come together and they meet then it's our obligation to make sure that we do our part in this partnership," Aziz said.
"I often speak of partnerships and this fifty-fifty partnership that the police have with the community -- it's not too heavy on either side," Aziz continued. "But we intend to join together to drive down these types of crimes. what I'm speaking of is violent crime during the summer because that is really the most important aspect of how we keep the community safe."
Aziz said his department wants to hear from the public about other issues they may not be aware of and expects to have weekly operational meetings to review what's working and what isn't.
Umeh reports operation heatwave will last until September 7.