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The Power of Community

This morning, I had the privilege to attend Prince George’s County’s monthly crime meeting. This is a meeting very similar to our StateStat meetings where they bring together relevant stakeholders to analyze crime data and see where they can improve. And as I sat and listened to their County Chief of Police, the State’s Attorney and other stakeholders, one message resonated loud and clear—strong partnerships build strong communities.

In the last nine months alone, Prince George’s County reports that they have achieved a 12.1% reduction in violent crime. One of the ways we did this was through our Summer Initiative. The initiative was a high functioning partnership between police, non-profits, schools, religious organizations and state and local partners. Our state Department of Parole and Probation worked together with the County to identify and target offenders on parole in five different neighborhoods. The Police then brought them into the station, told them they would keep a close eye on them and then asked a simple question: “What do you need?”

Through community partners, we offered the offenders everything from food stamps to job services to family assistance. And it worked. Not a single one of the 67 offenders was arrested, and crime plummeted down.

But it wouldn’t have worked if it weren’t for the community. It wouldn’t have worked if our state and local law enforcement agencies failed to collaborate. And it wouldn’t have worked if we didn’t use technology to effectively target high-risk areas and individuals. We are all in this together and this program is the perfect example of the power of community.

I hope you’ll watch this newsclip of the program about the initiative to learn more.

Thanks to everyone who was involved in the summer initiative. As the County Chief of Police explained this morning, “This is the beginning, not the end.”