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Homicides fall for first quarter of police say Homicides and most other types of crime have fallen in the first quarter of 2006 as compared with this time last year, Prince George Police Chief Melvin High announced Wednesday. Homicides, which reached a record 173 last year in the county, have fallen 37.5 percent so far in 2006. This time last year, the county had 40 homicides; police recorded 25 in the first quarter of 2006. department has come back from a period of decline and disrepair, he added. plan is simply to stay the course. attributed the decline in crime which occurred in every category except assaults, which rose 12 percent to the hiring of more officers, the leadership of the command staff, the high morale of the officers and the effectiveness of traffic stops and patrols. no question the patrol is a backbone of our outfit, High said. The number of traffic citations and arrests has risen steadily since 2003. Both categories saw declines between 2000 and 2003. The number of guns and the amount of narcotics seized has also been on the rise. Guns and drugs had been linked to most of last year homicides. High said the department has now entered two of its policing plan, though he did not offer specifics on what that phase entailed. Police union president Percy Alston said the second phase means a return to the beat system, which the union had advocated last year. Previously, the department had been operating under a Community Service Area structure, which spread each officer area of responsibility across a broader area. a much more manageable area for each officer to work, Alston said of the beat system. try to instill beat pride. crime showed significant decline in the first quarter of 2006. Rapes were down 15.7 percent; carjackings were down 23.4 percent; and robberies were down 13.8 percent. Overall property crime went down 8.6 percent, while auto thefts went down 18.6 percent, after declining throughout 2005 as well. Assistant Chief Col. Roberto Hylton said the department was on pace to eclipse last year positive trends in arrests, traffic citations and gun seizures. To criminals, he said, going to identify you, we going to apprehend you, and we going to lock you up. Tuesday night, a report to a County Council committee in Upper Marlboro showed that while county crime is dropping this year, it has surpassed rates in surrounding Maryland counties and Baltimore City in rape, auto theft and carjacking in the past four years. High praised his leadership team for this year progress and said the department case closure rate has also significantly improved for homicide and robbery cases.