Leaders in Prince George's County are taking a new approach to fixing old problems in certain neighborhoods. Last summer, the police department embarked on a focused crime-fighting initiative in some areas of the county. Believing that was a success, county executive Rushern Baker has designed a new program called the Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative that he believes will go even further towards revitalizing the six targeted communities.
The new initiative goes beyond addressing crime rates, targeting areas suffering from other chronic problems like obesity, unemployment and dilapidated housing. Baker has assigned department leaders in his administration to each of the targeted areas — East Riverdale/Bladensburg, Glassmanor, Hillcrest Heights/Marlow Heights, Kentland/Palmer Park, Langley Park and Suitland/Coral Hills.
He wants to target these areas with more county services, and not at the expense of other neighborhoods. "I'm asking them to do code enforcement throughout the county," says Baker. "But if there's anything extra, it's going to these areas. If we have one more hour a person can do code enforcement, they're going to one of these six areas."
Baker unveiled the initiative Wednesday morning in Glassmanor, one of the six areas identified: "There are struggles and challenges here. The crime rate is disproportionately high. We have improvements we need in our student achievements. Key health indicators are high, and there are limited economic development and job opportunities."
The initiative includes more than just agencies under Baker's oversight. Schools and the sheriff's department will help out, as will the office of State's Attorney Angela Alsobrooks, who says they've already put together one event related to the new push.
"We're calling a 'Sisterhood Summit,'" says Alsobrooks. "We're doing this because we have seen an alarming amount of violence among young women in our community. And we're are very concerned about the inability that they can not resolve conflicts peacefully."
That summit will take place in September.
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