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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  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.

Deborah Coleman September 09, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Whatever it is, no, you don't need to say it....just keep it to yourself. There's always that one person who has to screw things up for everybody else. In the end, it's the kids who get punished for something stupid someone else did.
kc September 10, 2012 at 03:40 AM
I walk my dog there all the time. This is a shame. If they want a superficial, quick fix for crime at the fields, they need to close the wooded passage way at Mandan and Mathew Streets that lets all the apartment dwellers into the decidedly upper income Greenspring Community. It's not perfect, but let's be honest--we know where the ne'er do wells are coming from...
Polly September 10, 2012 at 10:22 AM
Really kc? Seriously? You are a fool if you think undesirables ONLY live in apartments. They live EVERYWHERE!!! I've read articles in the News Review in years gone by of plenty of crime in you "upper income Greenspring Community".
Donald James September 10, 2012 at 03:56 PM
That's why we can't have anything in this county. Whenever something happens they blame the place or the circumstance instead of blaming the people. Nick is right...basketball hoops don't shoot people. 1 or 2 people do something and we all suffer. If someone gets shot at a park, do we close the whole park? No...the police needs to do their job!
Sara Waters September 14, 2012 at 02:14 PM
The police definitely need to do their job. The police need to patrol areas of concern more than other areas. They need to put the hoops back up because they never should have been taken down.

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