Crime in Hyattsville’s Ward 4 has seen an increase over last year, and police and city officials are looking for community help in addressing it.
Hyattsville Police Chief Douglas Holland spoke about recent crime at a community meeting held Aug. 14, with approximately 50 residents in attendance.
The community meeting was held in response to the July 30 shooting of two teenage males in Hyattsville. Both have been released from the hospital, but Holland said the incident has highlighted the need for police engagement with the community.
According to statistics provided by Holland, crime in the first seven months of 2014 has increased only 3.9 percent over the first seven months of 2013, while violent crime has also decreased, although recent events have narrowed that gap.
Crime in Ward 4, where the shootings took place, has jumped 27.9 percent, however.
“We have over the past three weeks had an unusual spike in violent crimes, so we have some work to do,” Holland said.
John Majano of Hyattsville, father on one of the victims, said that his teenage son is still healing from the psychological wounds of having been shot.
“He’s doing good, but the trauma’s still there, it’s still with him,” said Majano, who has lived in West Hyattsville for nine years.
The meeting was originally going to be held at the site of the shooting, in the 5700 block of 30th Street, but it was moved to the nearby West Hyattsville Baptist Church for logistical reasons, said Ward 4 city councilman Edouard Haba, who, along with fellow Ward 4 council member Paula Perry, helped organize the meeting.
Perry said it was important the community band together in the wake of the shooting.
“This is our community. We need to pay attention to things and work with officers,” Perry said. “We don’t need this kind of thing. We just need to band together as a stronger community to push this element out.”
Hyattsville Police Chief Douglas Holland said the incident has helped highlight the need for police to make their presence felt in the community.
Holland said two of the four suspects in the shooting have been arrested, but the firearm used has not been recovered, and a motive has not been determined.
“We have no definitive information this shooting was gang related, and we have absolutely no indication at all it was drug related,” Holland said.
Majano commended police for their work on the investigation and quick work in arresting two suspects.
“I just want to say, that as a father of a victim, we have a nice community here. We don’t have a gang problem. It was just an isolated incident,” Majano said.
Alexi Sanchez de Boado of Hyattsville said more needs to be done to integrate the city’s growing Latino population into the city.
“I think the biggest issue is we have a community within the community,” Sanchez de Boado said. “We have a subculture that doesn’t really participate and that makes them prey to those who know they won’t call the police.”