Police: Ward 5 sees spike in armed commercial robberies; rape & home break-ins down citywide
BY REBECCA BENNETT — At a June 16 Ward 5 community meeting called by Councilmember Joseph Solomon (Ward 5), the Hyattsville City Police Department presented a semi-annual crime report.
Comparing crime numbers from January to June 2014 to the same period in 2015, Police Chief Douglas Holland said the number of commercial robberies committed in Ward 5 was zero in 2014, but had jumped to five for the same period in 2015 — four of those having been committed with a gun and one with another weapon.
Kirkwood Market was robbed twice, Holland said, by the same person and the cases were closed with an arrest. The Check Cash Depot on Hamilton Street was robbed, but that case was closed with arrest, he said. The Latino Express on Hamilton Street was robbed, but police said the case is still open.
According to Holland, this number also includes the gruesome robbery at Lawson’s Pharmacy earlier this year. Police said the same group was responsible for a series of robberies, it was investigated by a task force, and closed with arrest.
One resident expressed frustration with the lack of perceived patrolling of the area. Holland said police have been doing more frequent vehicle patrols and foot patrols along residential and commercial Hamilton Street.
“They are doing everything they can to be as visible as they can,” Hyattsville City Administrator Tracey Nicholson said.
According to the January to June report, another type of crime that has increased around the city in that period include assaults — specifically assaults with no weapon — which jumped from 40 to 55 overall. Ward 4 saw the number of assaults jump from 3 to 10. Ward 5 saw the number jump from 6 to 11.
Reports of stolen vehicles also rose from 31 last year to 42 during the same period this year. Wards 1, 2, 4 and 5 all saw increases in vehicle thefts from January to June, but Ward 5’s stolen vehicles jumped from 8 to 15 this year.
Last August, Hyattsville City Police told residents that crime in the city was on a downward trend. The January to June 2014-2015 report shows overall crime is down by 1.3 percent and total calls for service are down more than 18 percent — or more than 2,300 calls. Types of crime that decreased during this period include rape, residential breaking and entering and theft.