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Prince George's County's plan to increase safety

Wednesday - 4/18/2012, 6:30pm  ET

Darci Marchese, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Prince George's County plans to make a troubled neighborhood safer just by changing the way it does business.

Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker unveiled the "Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative" or TNI Wednesday from a community center in Glassmanor, Maryland -- a neighborhood in Oxon Hill.

It's a plan that creates six different teams to focus on six neighborhoods that are in need. They were selected because of high crime rates, high foreclosures, low test scores in schools, health problems and other factors.

The neighborhoods are: E. Riverdale/Bladensburg, Glassmanor, Hillcrest Heights/Marlow Heights, Kentland/Palmer Park, Langley Park and Suitland/Coral Hills.

Baker says county workers will work together to pool existing resources to benefit the troubled neighborhoods. There is no additional money allocated to the program. It will utilize existing resources.

"We're asking everybody to change the way they're doing their jobs," Baker said.

Baker says it may mean working harder, longer and more efficiently together in order to help the neighborhoods become safer, better places to live.

There are six team leaders working with various members on that team and Baker says he will meet weekly with team leaders, to make sure goals are accomplished.

Prince George's County Police Chief Mark Magaw is excited about the initiative. He says the department was able to decrease overall crime by 40 percent during last year's summer crime initiative.

He said he can't wait to see what they will be able to accomplish with six team leaders working to keep the neighborhoods safe.

Baker is also proud to get the plan off the ground, "this is why I became County Executive."

"We are going to make a difference," he said.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)