The Washington Times - September 19, 2011, 08:10AM

Surveillance cameras operated by the D.C. police department have failed to reduce crime, as has occurred in other cities, in part because of the way the cameras are set up and monitored, according to a critical study of the four-year program, reports Andrea Noble of The Washington Times. Baltimore and Chicago have reported far better results with their surveillance programs, according the survey, conducted by the Washington-based nonprofit Urban Institute, which analyzed crime data in the District of Columbia from January 2005 to February 2009.

A Maryland lawmaker is considering legislation in next year’s General Assembly to strengthen penalties related to flash-mob robberies. Delegate Jeffrey D. Waldstreicher, Montgomery County Democrat, said he might sponsor a bill that would hold each flash-mob participant responsible for the total amount of merchandise stolen by the group, rather than just for their own actions. Montgomery officials first encountered the problem last month when roughly 30 young people returning from the county fair entered a 7-Eleven in Germantown en masse and stole merchandise. If the bill becomes law, anybody who steals $10 in merchandise as part of a $1,000 mass robbery could be charged with stealing all $1,000 worth of items, according to The Washington Times.

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The director of the D.C. welfare-to-work program Project Empowerment, who was fired in February, has been rehired recently, according to the city. D.C. Department of Employment Services spokesman David Thompson confirmed last week that program Director Charles Jones was rehired within the past 90 days, reports Jeffrey Anderson of The Washington Times.

A Maryland man attended all 12 hearings of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s Redistricting Advisory Committee to plead for no gerrymandering, reports MarylandReporter.com’s Len Lazarick.

Howard Gorrell said he had no intention of attending all of the hearings when he found himself the first witness at the first hearing July 23 in Hancock, the closest to his home in Washington County. Mr. Gorrell, who is deaf, was a statistician in the 1970s for the National Republican Congressional Committee, helping conform redistricting to voting patterns. He served as a precinct and electoral analyst for the Republican National Committee and as a research assistant at the Library of Congress, analyzing election results.

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s new job-creation effort is modeled after a program that created 13,000 jobs in Atlanta, but the initiatives are more similar in spirit than in execution. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, a Democrat, pitched “Hire One Atlanta” as a job-creation effort to employ “one additional person” at companies in the Georgia capital’s metropolitan area. Yet Mr. Gray, a Democrat, told a gathering of business leaders Thursday that he did not expect employers to create jobs or provide “charity” in this tough economy. Instead, he asked them only to fill vacancies with some of the District of Columbia’s 36,000 unemployed residents as part of his new “One City, One Hire” initiative, reports Tom Howell Jr. of The Washington Times.

The few who showed up at a recent Prince George’s County Young Democrats debate in the race to succeed Leslie Johnson barely outnumbered the candidates themselves: the 14 Democrats and one Republican who are vying for Johnson’s seat on the County Council. The Young Democrats’ forum was no different from several others. Turnout has been low, making it difficult for the candidates to connect with large numbers of prospective voters. Johnson left her post after pleading guilty to federal corruption charges. The primary election is Tuesday, according to The Washington Post.

Montgomery County police have charged a Beltsville man in connection with seven armed bank robberies from Oct. 14, 2010, to Sept. 2, according to The Washington Times. Samuel Lewis, 44, has been charged with seven counts of armed robbery and seven counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. He was arrested Friday. Mr. Lewis also is suspected of committing additional bank robberies in Arlington and Alexandria, The Times reports.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has appointed a prominent local lawyer to the Metro board of directors, but the current members who could be replaced are questioning whether the governor has the authority to make the move. Metro board member Jeff McKay, who also is a Fairfax County supervisor, said the appointment faces “significant” legal hurdles, according to the Washington Examiner.

Dick Smith, who was there when the place opened 31 years ago, was back at his piano bar in Phillips Seafood on Sunday afternoon, the last day of business at Harborplace for the last of the original tenants. Mr. Smith played “As Time Goes By,” and longtime customers gathered on the high chairs around his piano to enjoy the song and a final crab cake, according to the Baltimore Sun.