MARYLAND

Prince George's Co. police patrols aim to take illegal guns off the streets

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More than 100 law enforcement officers fanned out over Prince George's County Thursday night with the goal of cracking down on crime and getting as many illegal guns off the streets as possible.

During the month of Jan., 125 additional officers will patrol streets in certain area.

"We're really looking for guns and associated violence," said Prince George's County Police Department Major Pete Eliadis.

During a weapons violation investigation in Suitland, officers found among the weapons a Remington shotgun. They also seized ammo and some marijuana.

Federal ATF agents came along for Thursday night's campaign.

Although stopping gun violence is a major focus, officers were also looking for drugs. During the operation, they arrested two men in District Heights after police say they smelled marijuana coming from their car.

The initiative targets six areas of Prince George's County with the goal of making them better places to live. Almost all of the localities are inside the Beltway and within a few miles of the District line.

ATF Agent Bill McMullen added, "Targeting violent crime, violent offenders, neighborhood crews, and gang members."

Like D.C., the number of homicides in Prince George's County has been on the decline. As recently as 2005, there were 169 murders. Last year, there were 60.

But officers know there's more to be done to reduce crime, especially in some of the areas they're targeting.

If all goes well in Jan., they plan to repeat the campaign during the summer.

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