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Pr. George's police announce steps to curb violence after 9 homicides in 9 days

By Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 10, 2011; 1:52 AM

The Prince George's County police announced a stepped-up program Sunday for curbing violence in the county, which has recorded nine homicides in the first nine days of the new year.

The police said detectives have been transferred to divisions dealings with crime investigation and drug enforcement and others have been assigned to federal task forces. In addition police said all municipal police agencies in the county are being marshaled to "present one force" to combat the violence.

"We will stop the unacceptably high level of violence which has plagued our Inner Beltway communities since the beginning of the year," police chief Mark Magaw said in a statement issued late Sunday.

He said an array of community and law enforcement resources would be drawn together to curb the outbreak of violence.

The statement was issued within a few hours after police reported that a 21-year-old man was shot and killed late Saturday in the county's second homicide of the day. That killing was the ninth reported in the county since the New Year began.

Police identified the victim of the late Saturday killing as Corteza W. Livingston of the 3100 block of Dynasty Drive in the Forestville area.

Livingston was found with a gunshot wound on the block where he lived. It was not clear Sunday whether the shooting occurred in his home.

Police said a 24-year-old man, who also was apparently shot in the same incident, was taken to a hospital with injuries that were not thought to be life-threatening.

Police said they think the incident stemmed from a personal dispute. Officers said they were searching for suspects and trying to determine a motive.

The steps announced late Sunday were described by police as an addition to actions already taken in response to the series of violent offenses.

In the announcement, police said meetings would be held this week to update and enlist the help of community groups, and local business leaders are also being asked for help. The effort will also include help from the sheriff's office, municipal departments and federal agencies.

"Together," the chief said, "we are a formidable force that will bring calm to all segments of our county."

Among specific steps to be taken, the police said, would be transfers of 13 detectives to the criminal investigation division, five to the narcotic enforcement division and six to federal task forces.

Police said the police and the sheriff's office would focus jointly on serving warrants on areas affected by the violence, and all municipal police chiefs would take part in conference calls to coordinate operations.

A major in the police department has been assigned to coordinate enforcement operations in affected sections of the county over the next two weeks, using police specialty units and various administrative divisions.

The shooting Saturday night, which raised the homicide total to nine, occurred a little more than 12 hours after a man was found fatally wounded in the parking lot of an apartment complex in the Langley Park area. Police went there after a cutting was reported.

Police said the victim in that incident had not been identified by Sunday night. No additional details in his killing were available.

The first of the nine killings occurred on New Year's Day in the Chillum section.

Officials have said that sudden spikes in the number of homicides have occurred previously.

They have also said that they do not think the increase in homicides at the start of the year portends a long-term increase in violence in the county.

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