- The Washington Times - Monday, July 4, 2011

The District of Columbia routinely leads the region in the number of homicides each year, but Prince George’s County is slightly ahead through the first half of 2011.

In the first six months of this year, the county had 56 criminal homicides and the District had 55, according to statistics provided by their respective police departments.

The District’s first-half number is slightly less than last year’s 60, while the county’s is significantly more than the 43 recorded in the first six months of 2010.

Justifiable homicides, typically meaning those committed in self-defense and for which no criminal charges are filed, and police-involved deaths are not included in the data provided.

A surge of violence in the Maryland county at the beginning of the year left 13 people dead in 13 days. The police department responded by sending extra patrol officers out in force for several weeks to the inner Beltway communities where most of the killings occurred.

In June, Prince George’s police also initiated a series of community walks in neighborhoods throughout the county. Police provided safety and crime prevention tips, promoted better communication between neighborhoods and police, and encouraged neighborhood watch programs.

In the District, Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier wants to see the number of homicides at less than 100 a year, something that’s not happened since the early 1960s. The District recorded 132 homicides last year.

Other neighboring jurisdictions have had far fewer criminal homicides.

Montgomery County has recorded just eight in the six months of 2011 and had a total of 17 for all of 2010.

Fairfax County has had five over the same period this year - three more than in the first half of 2010. The county had 16 last year.

Alexandria and the Arlington County haven’t had any murders so far this year. Last year, Arlington had just one homicide and Alexandria had a double homicide.

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