The Prince George's County Police Department, whose members are working to reduce crime, are getting help from some unlikely sources.
Although residents have long looked to one another to keep their streets safe -- establishing neighborhood watches and other crime prevention groups -- more organized efforts are taking shape in Prince George's.
Churches, for example, are increasingly tailoring their messages to combat crime, with church members going into the streets to reach people who don't attend services. And recently, a number of people with connections to the music industry have reached out with programs and admonitions for young people to refrain from risky behavior and criminal activities.
Taheba Byrd, volunteer coordinator at WKYS-FM (93.9), said that her station's parent company, Radio One, has launched a number of programs designed to divert the attention of young people from the lure of the streets.
Vaughn Holmes, promotions director for WOL-AM (1450) and WYCB-AM (1340), said that his stations have also started initiatives for young people. In one effort, on-air personalities and law enforcement officials talked with female gang members about issues they face and offered them support.
LaToya Foster, host of "Live at Five" on WOL-AM, participated in the exchanges with the gang members. She said that in talking to the girls, she realized that many young people have poor relationships with their elders. And, she said, disciplining kids is not what it used to be. "At one time, if a child misbehaved, they would get a spanking," Foster said. "Now people are afraid to discipline."
The radio stations' efforts are similar to those of ministers who recently said they would aggressively take their services to the streets and try to work more closely with police to get a handle on crime.
One example occurred last month when a minister organized an outdoor revival to bring attention to the violent crime in the county. The revival was also meant to generate ideas to help police reduce the number of murders, auto thefts, carjackings and other crimes.
Hainey Pinnock and his wife, Lumene, were among those who attended the revival. Standing on a street corner outside the Master's Child Church Worship Center in Capitol Heights, the two joined in the singing of a spiritual hip-hop tune.
"I've got that feeling, that Holy Ghost feeling, that Jesus Christ is in the house and I'm ready to go. I've got that feeling, that Holy Ghost feeling, that Jesus Christ is in the house and I'm ready to go."
Nearby, Tony Spaulding hopped on his SUV and danced so hard that his girlfriend was afraid he would fall off.
Spaulding didn't care. The music had moved him.
"Do you see those teddy bears over there?" he asked, pointing to an area near the intersection of Marlboro Pike and Brooks Drive, where a makeshift memorial stood. "That's where my friend Mo was killed. Do you see that gas station? Somebody else was killed there."
As of late last week, there had been more than 90 killings in the county, many of them of young black men. Carjackings have also increased, with 337 reported as of June 30; 229 were reported by the same time last year.
The Rev. Simeon Corum, an Upper Marlboro resident and pastor of the Goshen Worship Center in Alexandria, organized the event because he felt compelled to get involved in fighting crime.
Corum, who is working with other pastors, said he is particularly concerned about gunfire and other crimes along the Maryland-District border. He said his nephew Terrone Corum was fatally shot in February while pumping gas on New York Avenue in the District, near the Prince George's border.
"The police can only do so much,'' Corum said. "It's time for the churches to stand up and preachers to come out of the pulpit and show people that there is hope."
Ministers and others with influence over young people have called on one another to take their message to the streets.
That directive has been heard by Caroline Cuff, chairman and chief executive of Musician Minds Publishing Group of Lanham. Cuff and her husband, Warren, sponsor artist showcases in an effort to steer young people away from crime and introduce local talent to the public.
"We have to help our young people dream," said Cuff, whose company publishes Musician Minds Magazine, which is about new music and untapped artists.
"Our hope is to give these young people an alternative playground," Warren Cuff said. "Instead of drugs and fighting, we give them hope."
Caroline Cuff recalled one young man, Craig Saint Jamada, who was fatally shot on the steps of an apartment building in Seat Pleasant nearly a year ago.
"I have three sons," she said. "This could have been one of them.''
In the parking lot of the Master's Child Church Worship Center, Hainey Pinnock said it was important that he and his wife participate in last month's revival. The Pinnocks said they attended because they wanted to let young people know that "you don't have to throw away your lives doing drugs." Nor do they need to commit crimes, Hainey Pinnock said.
The revival, which included songs and spirited speeches, caught the attention of Whitney Barnes and Jimmie Talbert, both 17, who were walking home from a community pool where they work as lifeguards.
"This will bring a lot of people closer to God," Barnes said.
The teens agreed that crime in the county needs to be addressed.
"They need something to turn things around here," Talbert said.
Doris Agnew, a minister at the Master's Child Worship Center, said she is an example of how things can turn around.
"Look at me," Agnew said after the revival. "You are looking at a former drug user. You are looking at a former drug dealer."
Like Foster, Agnew attributed many of the problems that young people face to the actions of elders.
"In many respects, a lot of what they are going through is because of what adults have not done," Agnew said. "We have focused so much on economics and materialism that we have forgotten that our children are hanging in the balance."
Agnew added that these days video games are often children's babysitters. And family discussions at the dinner table have been replaced by quick talks on cell phones.
At the revival, one young man decided to give his life to God.
"He represents an entire community that so many others have given up on," Agnew said.