Montgomery County's soft-on-crime County Council continues to have real consequences for victims of crime and gangs in our community. The latest statistics show that, after a 31% spike in murders last year, there have already been more homicides in 2018 than at this time of the year in 2017. That represents a 10% increase in murders this year on top of the 31% increase last year.
Despite recent passage of "common sense gun laws" in Maryland, weapons violations are up 6% in 2018. And even after the Council loosened marijuana laws in 2014, marijuana violations are up 11% this year. Drug offenses are up 7.4% overall so far this year. There has also been an increase in human trafficking and kidnappings.
Assaults are up 3.3% in 2018. That increase was driven by an "uptick in gang activity," Assistant Police Chief Russ Hamill told the committee. The department released a list of unsurprising hot spots of gang activity in the County, with Gaithersburg and Montgomery Village being the hardest hit areas. Cider Mill and Lakeforest Mall are being worked overtime by MS-13, and the Hittsquad and L3 gangs.
MS-13 continues to dominate in the Wheaton and Piney Branch areas of the County; an MS-13 "destroyer house" was discovered on University Boulevard last year. "One Way Hustle" is now the dominant gang in Germantown, and Silver Spring is beset by multiple gangs, according to the Council staff report.
Violent gang-related crime is up an astonishing 72% in 2018, a clear failure of the County Council's weak 2017 anti-gang initiative.