Prince George’s officials have announced an initiative to alleviate problems in some key inner beltway communities.

“I am a citizen and resident just like you which means that I have the same concerns and compassion for my community,” Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker stated. “When faced with any challenge, my first inclination is to evaluate the situation, review my options and formulate an action plan that will yield improvements and results.”

The Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative (TNI) was formed to make safer streets, better schools and healthcare, and thriving businesses.

“On paper the TNI comprises all the major components of a strategic plan. However, our purpose can only be fulfilled with the help and hard work of the most key elements…our neighborhood partners,” said Baker.

“The Administration’s team will do the heavy lifting in the target areas by deploying necessary resources to deter crime and improve economic development, education, healthcare and human services.”

The program is an extension of last year’s Summer Crime Initiative that yielded remarkable results after the county’s deadly start to 2011. From May 22 through Sept. 1, 2011, that initiative yielded violent crime reductions of 22.2 percent in Langley Park, 22.5 percent in Riverdale, 9.7 percent in Suitland, 23.2 percent in Hillcrest Heights, and 12 percent in Glassmanor.

“This initiative brings these priorities and principles to life by employing the best practices of other initiatives such as our Police Department’s Summer Crime Initiative and bringing together on a frequent, regular and consistent basis more than 17 departments and agencies both inside and outside the Executive Branch of Government,” said Chief Administrative Officer Bradford L. Seamon in a statement.

For the TNI, the targeted areas are East Riverdale/Bladensburg, Glassmanor, Hillcrest Heights/Marlow Heights, Kentland/Palmer Park, Langley Park and Suitland/Coral Hills. 

These neighborhoods, most bordering Washington, D.C., have seen their fair share of crime and lackluster schools.

These areas are high drug markets and traditionally represent 8- to 90 percent of the county’s murders yearly.

Also, students from these neighborhoods attend some of the poorest performing schools in the county. Suitland, Central, Bladensburg and Fairmount Heights, schools students from these neighborhoods would attend; have four of the six lowest test scores out of all of the county’s high schools.

That’s why officials are taking a more holistic approach with this initiative rather than just focusing on crime. They hope that this initiative will help improve delivery of services by the communication of several different government agencies.

Results will be reviewed every six months to see which services have improved and every year to determine how it will continue.


George Barnette

Special to the AFRO