PgWantedWednesday1

A long-running Prince George’s County Police Department program is focused on closing unsolved cases, establishing better relations between the community and law enforcement, and giving residents an opportunity to help fight crime in their neighborhoods.

The police department began posting mugshots online in the middle of the week – dubbed Wanted Wednesdays – in November 2013. The department also formed a partnership with Washington, D.C. news station WJLA. The first segment aired in September 2014.

“The ultimate goal is to close cases,” Cpl. Maria McKinney, spokeswoman for the Prince George’s County Police Department, told the AFRO on July 24. “One of the benefits of sharing the Wanted Wednesday posts each week is that we continue to foster our relationship with our online community. Engaging our social media followers is one way our community can get involved in the fight against crime.”

The program solved five cases in May that were linked to armed robberies, however a specific number of crimes solved over the programs tenure cannot be assessed, according to Prince George’s County Police Lt. Jarriel Jordan.

He said that even though the department can only account for five cases being solved, the program is still a cost-efficient asset to officers and citizens in the county.

“You can’t put a price on the news coverage as the widespread exposure can make the difference between locking up a criminal or not,” said McKinney. “We highlight suspects we’re searching for in connection with any number of crimes. The crimes, or criminals, we select each week are based upon the quality of the surveillance photos or video we have, the nature of the crime, or to try and help detectives get leads when all other avenues have been exhausted.”

Crimes featured on the Wanted Wednesdays, include assaults, batteries, homicides, rapes and robberies.

According to the department’s Uniform Crime Report, there were 301 violent crimes (the most) in October 2014 with February having the least at 217 violent crimes. The monthly average for 2014, the most recent data available, was 255 violent crimes.

Surveillance videos and photographs of suspects and persons of interest are found on the Wanted Wednesday webpage located at princegeorgescountymd.gov/sites/policedepartment/Pages/default.aspx, under the department’s blog pgpolice.blogspot.com, and on the department’s Facebook page. McKinney said she encourages those viewing Wanted Wednesdays, either online or on-the-air, to call the Crime Solvers Anonymous Tip Line: 1-866- 411-TIPS (8477) or text CRIMES to (274637).

“Wanted Wednesday is here to stay,” McKinney said. “Having a regularly scheduled feature with a captive audience is one way our Media Relations Division can assist in solving cases.”