The Prince George’s police gang unit has begun to step up enforcement with more patrols in addition to its efforts to identify and target known gang members in critical neighbors such as Langley Park, Riverdale and Capitol Heights. The unit is still waiting for its allocation of the federal funds, officials said.
“Gangs are growing throughout different parts of the county, and they’re evolving. We need to find out about them so we can keep up,” said Councilman Will Campos, D-Hyattsville, at the first meeting of the new Youth and Gang Violence Prevention Steering Committee on Wednesday.
The committee was one of the final recommendations by a former gang violence task force, which found that the county’s wide array of social service and youth programs needed a place to work together. More than two dozens Prince George’s community leaders, law enforcement officers, and government representatives discussed those efforts and other youth gang-related issues Wednesday.
“When you talk about gang prevention, we’re really talking about fighting a mind-set,” said Rashid Mahdi, assistant state’s attorney for Prince George’s County. “We’re not going to arrest our way out of this situation.”
Prince George’s and Montgomery counties’ police have started working together to stop gang violence in neighborhoods along the counties’ shared border. In the last two weeks, Langley Park and Riverdale have been two areas of interest in the battle against gang violence due to increased gang activity. Police activities have increased by the Montgomery County Police Department finally receiving its share of a $2.7 million federal grant, awarded in 2009 for joint efforts between the two law enforcement agencies. From the Washington Examiner: