Montgomery and Fairfax counties are similar is size, population and demographics, but the Maryland county has seen nearly 25 percent more serious crime recently than its neighbor across the Potomac, a study found.
Murders, rapes, assaults, burglaries, and other serious crimes totaled 28,311 in Montgomery County, and 21,319 in Fairfax County in 2008, according to a report released by the Montgomery County Council last week.
The rate of violent crimes in Montgomery is 235 per 100,000 residents, in Fairfax it’s 78 per 100,000 residents.
The two counties have a similar demographic breakdown. Fairfax County has a slightly larger population at 1,015,000 compared with Montgomery’s 950,680. The median income in Fairfax is higher at $107,075 compared with $93,895 in Montgomery.
Officials and law enforcement policy experts attributed at least a significant part of the crime gap to the counties’ treatment of gangs and youth.
In October, the Northern Virginia Gang Task Force released a report detailing its success between 2003 and 2008. The report noted that “many gang members from Northern Virginia are moving or driving to Prince George’s and other Maryland counties . . . to avoid dealing with police departments that are unrelenting in their efforts to keep gangs under control.”
Gangs in Montgomery County have also taken violent action. In November 2008, a 14-year-old boy was gunned down on a county bus by an MS-13 gang member. In early 2009, a 15-year-old Hyattsville boy was abducted by 18th Street gang members, who believed he was a member of rival MS-13, and found stabbed to death in Gaithersburg.