By Jasmine Hilton, The Washington Post
As the band onstage played one of their final sets of go-go music, Brittany Hardy and her family headed home from a shopping center parking lot in Prince George’s County with food in their hands and smiles on their faces.
The 27-year-old mother, with daughters ages 7 and 9 and a stepson who is 14, said she attended Tuesday’s crime prevention and public safety rally in Oxon Hill, Md., because she is tired of “our babies dying” from gun violence.
“Put the guns down and keep the kids safe,” she said.
The “Our Streets, Our Future” rally — which brought together employment, counseling and mentoring resources — is one of several initiatives from county agencies this summer to help curb gun violence and prevent crime through community engagement. Though homicides have dropped about 30 percent compared with this time last summer, gun-related arrests and weapons recovery are up, and carjackings remain a concern, officials say. County police have investigated 45 homicides this year compared with 65 by this time last year, Police Chief Malik Aziz said at a news conference Tuesday.