Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones mentioned that crime total within the county was up 10 % in 2023. Referring to downtown Silver Spring, Jones mentioned the realm “accounted for 9% of all the crimes within the county.”

Officials in Montgomery County, Maryland, held a information convention Wednesday on their efforts to chop crime in downtown Silver Spring, emphasizing that progress is being made regardless of challenges that embody police division staffing ranges.

Noting that crime for the primary quarter of the present 12 months appears to be trending downward, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich mentioned the county has seen only one murder up to now this 12 months compared to a mean of “seven per quarter over the past three years.”

He mentioned carjackings are down as nicely.

“Is it victory? Not essentially,” Elrich mentioned on the information convention.

Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones mentioned crime total within the county was up 10% in 2023. Referring to downtown Silver Spring, Jones mentioned the realm “accounted for 9% of all the crimes within the county.”

Jones mentioned the police division has leaned into utilizing expertise to assist battle crime, together with license plate readers and the “drone as first responder” program.

The drone has been deployed 454 occasions since its introduction, typically efficient in apprehending suspects. Jones mentioned that with these 454 deployments, response occasions have been shortened, and, in different instances, the drone has been capable of relay information exhibiting that police weren’t wanted on a given name for service.

Jones additionally mentioned the best way police are being deployed permits them to be more practical.

“I’ve directed patrol officers primarily based on crime information,” Jones mentioned, explaining that the “evidence-based” method places officers the place they’re wanted most at any given time. The division has partnered with the Silver Spring Safety Alliance, Jones mentioned, and has promoted extra foot and bike patrols to have interaction the neighborhood and sustain with issues of residents and companies.

“But once more, there’s extra work to do,” Jones mentioned.

Keeping downtown Silver Spring a “place for everybody”

Montgomery County Council member Kate Stewart, who led the hassle to vary closing occasions for late evening companies, together with hookah bars in downtown Silver Spring, mentioned she was decided to maintain Silver Spring a “place for everybody.”

“I’m right here as somebody who lives, works, and performs proper right here in our downtown Silver Spring space and has completed so for almost three a long time,” mentioned Stewart, who represents Silver Spring.

Stewart mentioned she and her colleague on the council, Evan Glass, held a gathering on a weekend final 12 months and heard from a whole bunch of residents.

“We actually listened to their issues,” she mentioned.

Stewart mentioned the newly-passed invoice that closes late evening companies at 2 a.m. on weeknights and three a.m. on weekends is designed to assist guarantee individuals get dwelling safely from having fun with late nights in Silver Spring.

Stewart mentioned extra companies are coming to Silver Spring, together with a number of eating places and low outlets.

“If that you must be caffeinated, that you must come to downtown Silver Spring,” Stewart joked.

When requested her ideas after the convention, Ilhan Cagri, a member of the Silver Spring Justice Coalition, expressed skepticism over whether or not the laws that requires uniform closing occasions for bars and hookah bars would impact public security.

“The hookah bars are usually not allowed to serve alcohol,” Cagri mentioned. “So if we’re speaking about rowdy habits, it’s not coming from the hookah bars.”

Elias Woldu, with the Ethio-American Chamber of Commerce, mentioned the enterprise homeowners have issues past the fast incidents of theft or robberies that may happen.

“We don’t need individuals to worry [coming] to Silver Spring to do enterprise,” Woldu mentioned.

He added that “there is no such thing as a manner they’ll do it by themselves, so we’ve to coordinate our efforts.”

Crime is “nothing new,” however taken significantly

Vicky Warren, who described herself as a longtime Silver Spring resident, mentioned her household purchased a home inside strolling distance of Sligo Creek Park and the Silver Spring Metro station over three a long time in the past.

“Thirty-eight years later, we’re nonetheless in that very same home,” Warren mentioned. “Crime right here is nothing new.”

Referring to a 2008 capturing on a bus in Silver Spring that killed a 14-year-old boy, Warren mentioned “within the ensuing years, the general crime fee in downtown Silver Spring has ebbed and flowed.”

“We’re on this collectively,” Warren continued. “The authorities leaders, the police, the enterprise neighborhood and residents.”

Elrich spoke to reporters after occasion, expressing a dedication to addressing the crime.

“There’s no one software that’s going to repair all this,” Elrich mentioned. “But we wish individuals to know that we’re taking this significantly.”

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