Thursday, April 23, 2009

Safe Silver Spring Summit slated for May 16 - Gazette

Event intended to address recent crime trends in the area

by Jason Tomassini | Staff Writer | Wednesday, April 22, 2009

In an effort to develop strategies and partnerships that address growing crime concerns in Silver Spring, several local, county and state organizations will come together next month for the first Safe Silver Spring Summit.

The event, held 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. May 16 at Montgomery College's Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus at 7600 Takoma Ave., will consist of presentations on crime prevention and seven workshops that will be held in the morning and afternoon.

The workshops will include experts and residents and will focus on:

Making safe and civil public spaces.

Gangs and pack robberies.

Youth: schools, truants and kids hanging out.

Policing, security, resources and communication.

Why and how to start a Neighborhood Watch (to be conducted in Spanish).

Silver Spring Central Business District.

Residential neighborhoods adjacent to the CBD.

Planning for the summit began last fall in response to concerns about assaults and robberies in Silver Spring's commercial areas and burglaries and vehicle break-ins in residential areas, said Tony Hausner, chairman of the steering committee for the summit.

"Many of the neighborhoods have seen increased crime, particularly last year, and it was getting to the point that it was alarming enough to get us [to act]," Hausner said, citing the shooting death of a Montgomery Blair freshman in November and a fight that broke out at a downtown Silver Spring concert March 7 as events that reinforced those community concerns.

Representatives from agencies including the Montgomery County Police Department's Third District station, the Montgomery County State's Attorney's Office, Montgomery County Public Schools, Casa of Maryland, Councilwoman Valerie Ervin's office and Downtown Silver Spring will be on hand.

Registration is free for residents or organizations that want to participate but space is limited. Register by May 7 by sending an e-mail to or calling 301-431-4185, ext. 212. When registering, residents should specify whether they will attend the morning or afternoon sessions, the two workshop topics they are most interested in and if they need any language translation needs.

A free lunch and coffee in the morning will be provided.

The event is being convened by Prezco, an umbrella group for Silver Spring civic associations, the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board and the Silver Spring Regional Center.

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