Prince George’s County, Md., a major suburb of Washington, D.C., reached its all-time homicide record last night with its 155th killing so far this year; that exceeds a high reached in 1991, says the Washington Post. Police Chief Melvin C. High defended his crime-fighting plan and his officers and predicted that the number of killings will come down next year. The county is now on pace for about 175 homicides by the end of December. Said High: “Our department is working hard to change the course. It’s darkest just before the light.”
High pointed to 13 homicide arrests in the past 10 days as evidence that police are aggressively dealing with the problem. He also cited the recent arrests of four groups of teenage carjacking suspects; since those arrests, carjackings have declined by 70 percent, and there were none last weekend. On an average weekend, there are 15 carjackings. There have been about 700 carjackings in the county this year, compared with 190 in adjoining Washington, D.C. High’s strategy includes targeting guns and drugs to get them off the street. His understaffed department is in the midst of an aggressive hiring push. It has about 1,300 sworn officers, about 100 fewer than authorized.