Prince George's County executive Rushern Baker says economic development helpes stave off crime.
The crime rate in Prince George's County continued its downward trend in 2013, according to new numbers released today. The county saw fewer homicides than any year since 1986.
State and local officials crowded into the sparkling Wegman's mega-grocery store in Prince George's County to announce the latest crime statistics, with rows of cash registers for a backdrop. County Executive Rushern Baker says the dropping crime rate is tied to economic development in Prince George's.
"It is why Wegman's is here, it is why Tanger came here. It is why MGM is coming here," Baker says.
In the three years since Baker took office — and since Wegman's opened — homicides are down nearly 40 percent, and overall crime is down almost 30 percent.
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley was among the politicians on hand to bask in the good news. He pointed to a series of charts with huge red arrows pointing down.
"These graphs, ladies and gentlemen, aren't just moving in the right direction, they are being moved in the right direction," O'Malley says.
They're being moved in part, by citizen involvement, according to Police Chief Mark Magaw, who cites a 14 percent rise in calls to the crime tip-line.
"Not too many years ago we weren't getting those calls," he says.
But as officials celebrated last year's numbers, there was bad news too: there were two killings in the county on New Year's Day.