Today Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen joined fellow US Representatives Steny H. Hoyer and Donna F. Edwards (both D-Md) to applaud the Prince George's-Montgomery County Gang Initiative (PGMCGI) Progress Report released to the Bureau of Justice Assistance. PGMCGI is a joint county gang initiative to prevent and suppress gang activity occurring in both Prince George's and Montgomery Counties.
"As today's report indicates, Montgomery and Prince George's Counties have made important progress in combating gang activities. But we must do more to keep our neighborhoods safe," said Congressman Van Hollen. "We will continue to work to ensure law enforcement and other community agencies have the resources they need to address the suppression, prevention, and intervention components of gang violence across our state and region."
"Thanks to the Prince George's-Montgomery County Gang Initiative, our law enforcement agencies are addressing gang activity in a coordinated, comprehensive way, and our communities are seeing a real difference as a result," said Congressman Hoyer. "The progress our counties have made is encouraging, but there is still much more to do to keep our communities safe and I will continue to make gang prevention and suppression a top priority."
"This progress report shows that the Joint County Gang Initiative is making substantial progress in both Prince George's and Montgomery Counties," said Congressman Edwards. "The federal investment for this initiative is helping local law enforcement arrest gang members, get guns and drugs off the street, and provide anti-gang and bullying presentations in schools across the district. I look forward to continuing to work with Reps. Hoyer, Van Hollen, and law enforcement to further combat gang violence in our communities."
Representatives Hoyer, Van Hollen, and Edwards secured $2.7 million in funding for this initiative in the Fiscal Year 2010 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. The funding has supported personnel, travel, equipment, supplies, and contracts for prevention and intervention services such as after school programs and athletic and recreation leagues for at-risk youth.
From January to June 2012, the Prince George's County government worked with the Montgomery County government and begun prosecuting 33 gang members; hired a translator and a data entry person; provided over 100 anti-bullying and gang presentations; executed search warrants, arrested gang members, recovered guns, and confiscated illegal drugs with a street value of over $218,000; and identified families with youth at risk of gang involvement as the target population for early prevention strategies, and intervention strategies.
In that same time period, the Montgomery County government has arrested key members of the MS-13 gang, developed and implemented a proactive response to gang issues impacting the Wheaton Central Business District, resulting in three felony and eight misdemeanor arrests, 59 criminal citations, 11 warrants served, and 54 gang field identifications; partnered with the State's Attorney's Office (SAO) and the Department of Community Supervision to focus attention on a gang residence; and conducted 158 field interrogation reports, arrested 80 adults and 19 juveniles, identified 119 gang members, made 10 presentations, and had 39 debriefings.