The County Council’s Public Safety Commission this week received an update on 2023 crime trends from the Montgomery County Police Department. The report showed that in 2023, overall crime increased for the third year in a row, with the major increases coming from automobile related incidents. In his weekly message to the community, Marc Elrich commented on the report. His comments can be seen below:
Marc Elrich on the crime trends: “It showed that the proliferation of guns continues to be a major factor in the crimes impacting us. More than three out of every five homicides investigated in 2023, and almost one in every two robberies, involved a firearm.
Guns are more available than ever because of “ghost guns.” These weapons evade registration and purchase laws because they are built at home through a kit that comes in the mail or with the help of a 3-D printer. We need to eliminate the ability of people to buy ghost guns. It is something I would like to see the State continue to crack down on this year and the Federal government tackle as well.
Montgomery County’s largest increase in crime from 2022 to 2023 comes from auto thefts. Crime analysts attribute that to a safety flaw in some Hyundai and Kia vehicles. In the month of January alone, nearly 60 percent of the cars stolen in the County came from these two manufacturers. We have seen the crime rate rise in areas immediately around us, which also impacts Montgomery County.My team and I are working tirelessly to bring those numbers down. We have launched new initiatives to help enhance our police response to crime. We initiated a pilot program, the “Drone as First Responder,” in Silver Spring and Wheaton. More locations will be added in the coming months. A drone is used when a crime is reported because it can arrive on the scene faster. I know that some people have concerns regarding privacy and drones, so I think it is important to note that they are not being used as surveillance and do not capture video prior to arriving at a scene. If the drone can locate a suspect, that person can be followed and provide officers with the information needed to apprehend that person.
Other technologies, like license plate readers, are helping our police department identify stolen cars. License plate readers now routinely scan plates. We have also added more public security cameras in high-traffic areas like parking garages and highly trafficked streets and finalized regulations on late-night safety plans for businesses–all in the name of greater public safety. The Late-Night Business Safety Plan Program is now listed on the County register. Written feedback on the regulations can be submitted to Montgomery County Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Earl Stoddard by March 1 via email at [email protected].
We also are making it a priority to add more police officers on the street. We now have a recruitment firm in place to attract more quality candidates. We are also working on other measures to take uniformed officers out of desk jobs and put them on patrol. We increased pay for police officers to make their salaries competitive in the region, and we provided $20,000 signing bonuses to attract more talented candidates to Montgomery County. We are asking people to risk their lives, so we could not keep them at the bottom of the pay scale for our area.
We also will review dropping the college degree requirement and integrating education requirements into training. Our college degree requirement is more than most jurisdictions and does not necessarily provide added value. We are changing County regulations to allow us to rehire former public safety employees. And we are pushing to drop State requirements for public safety applicants that prohibit hiring a person who admits to past marijuana use in the previous year, even though it is now legal in the State.
I want to send a clear signal that we have a changing department that wants to encourage people to build their public safety careers here. We are focused on community policing, and adding more officers is critical to fulfilling that goal and reducing crime. The shortage of officers is the biggest challenge we face. I went on a ride-along a couple of months ago, and one thing that was apparent was that the officers seemed to go from one call to another, which did not afford much time to simply be present and patrol. We have work to do, but we are moving forward with plans to improve public safety and help police officers do their jobs safely.
If you know someone you think would be a good fit with MCPD, check out this website to learn more about the police cadet program, becoming an officer candidate or filling another vital role as a public safety emergency communications specialist.”
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AC Milan Academy is hosting a soccer camp at Maryland Soccerplex from March 1st through March 3rd for girls and boys aged 5 to 16 from any club who want to develop their soccer skills and learn the unique methodology of AC Milan directly from AC Milan coaches.
March 1st (Friday) 6pm-7:30pm
March 2nd (Saturday) 6pm-7:30pm
March 3rd (Sunday) 10:30am -12pm and 3:30pm-5pm
Location:18031 Central Park Cir, Boyds, MD 20841
Price: $349 + AC Milan Junior Camp Kit