Prince George's County Police yesterday reported a 11.1 percent overall decrease in crime in the first two months of 1983 compared to the same time period in 1982. According to police statistics, a total of 5,468 crimes of assorted description were reported in January and February this year, compared to the 6,151 reported in the first two months of 1982.
Police spokesman Ron Smith said the decline in the number of crimes reported seemed to be part of "a general trend" observed across the country. The spokesman said, however, that the formation of a special burglary prevention unit last November decreased the frequency of residential break-ins, which fell more than 30 percent.
Five murders were reported in January and February of this year, compared with 11 in 1982, which is a 54.5 percent drop. The number of armed robberies fell 15 percent from 362 to 306, and the number of reports of forcible rapes fell from 53 to 51. Incidents of muggings and other strong-armed robberies increased by 20.5 percent from 1982 to 1983, however, from 161 to 279, and aggravated assault rose from 256 to 279, a 9 percent increase.
Some of the most encouraging news of all, police said, was the 31 percent drop in residential burglaries, which fell from 1,427 to 985. Other nonresidential break-ins were down 5.6 percent, from 516 to 487, auto thefts were down 3.3 percent, from 572 to 553, while other thefts, such as shoplifting, were down from 2,793 to 2,606, a 6.6 percent decrease.
Police spokesman Ron Smith said police credit the new 11-man burglary prevention team for the dramatic drop in residential burglaries. Smith said the department believes that the decrease is due, in part, to the deterrent effect of the burglary prevention team.
In addition to putting more effort into solving reported break-ins, the team also advises homeowners on how to prevent break-ins, Smith said.