City Removes Hoops at Mandan Rd. Court to Thwart Crime
Police said children played in a neighboring field when a gunfight broke out last week.
The basketball hoops near Mandan Field are gone and police have tightened security near Mandan Road and Ora Glen Drive in Greenbelt, after a gunfight broke out by a basketball court near children at play last week.
"There was some sort of dispute there on the court or close to it," Greenbelt Police Capt. Thomas Kemp said, "and that resulted in the shots."
The local Boys and Girls Club was slated to use the soccer field, and police confirmed Friday that children were using the field the night of Aug. 28, when the shooting unleashed a stray bullet that hit a teenage girl who was walking home at around 6:23 p.m.
"I know there were kids up there practicing soccer and there were concerned parents and concerned coaches," said Kemp.
Shortly after the incident, the police, recreation center and City Manager Mike McLaughlin met to come up with a plan to deter crime. Together they decided to take the hoops down, according to Kemp.
According to Kemp, removing the hoops is not a new method to prevent crime. Ten years ago, there were some problems at the same court, so the hoops came down and police beefed up patrols.
On the heels of last week's shooting, police are re-instituting the plan.
"We have extra patrols to periodically saturate the area," Kemp said, noting that in the last several years there wasn't an issue on those courts.
"We had not seen any indication the area was going to flare up again," he added. "Obviously now that we know that it has, we will be addressing it accordingly."
A decade ago, the police action worked and the hoops went back up, which is what Kemp expects to happen again.
"There's every indication this will follow the same path," Kemp said. "There's nothing to indicate at this time that the hoops will not be put back up once people are comfortable and satisfied the area has been returned back to a normal safe environment."
The Greenbelt Police Department is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the two people who police say were allegedly involved in the gunfight. Attached is the reward flier with a picture of one of the suspects.
Greenbelt's Assistant Director of Recreation Joseph McNeal said the city had issued a permit to the Boys and Girls Club for field use during that time. He didn't know how many children were actually on the field when the gunfight broke out or whether practice had begun.
Patch did not hear back from the Boys and Girls Club for comment by post time.
The injured teen was treated at an area hospital and has since been released, police said.