A special thank you to our hostess Loreta Williams who not only provided a lovely meeting place, but also an array of delicious refreshments for the meeting.
Officer Charles Smith, Jr. of the Crime Suppression Team represented the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) at the meeting. Twenty-three community members were in attendance. Ten participants left prior to Officer Smith’s arrival.
Lt. Robinson was on leave and Sgt. Barnes left early because of a family emergency. Thankfully, the members of the Barnes family are now well. Officer Smith agreed to cover the meeting and arrived at 8:05 p.m. as he dealt with an incident on his way to the meeting. Prior to his arrival the group discussed issues of concern including:
- Cars parking on 4th St. in front of DCRA during the day and near Safeway and CVS in the late afternoon and evening hours and weekends
- Youth crime robberies at CVS and Safeway and approaches the community should take
- Possible activities for area youth
- Issuing metro passes to juveniles that allow them to traverse the city at will and cause issues
Update on Neighborhood Criminal Activity and MPD News
CVS and Safeway Robberies
Officer Smith discussed the recent mass shoplifting incidents at CVS and Safeway. He pointed out that the incidents are not occurring at the same rate given MPD presence and enhanced security at Safeway. He also noted that they seem to be at specific times (e.g. after school concludes for the day).
Echoing Lt. Robinson’s request at the February meeting, Officer Smith encouraged residents to call MPD if they see teens/kids grouping near CVS or Safeway. Officers Marshall and Bernard are patrolling on bike (weather permitting) during the day along the 4th St. corridor. School resource officers continue to assist with the investigations. Responding to a question from the floor about the role of Metro Transit Police, he noted that they assist by advising MPD if a large group of teens seem to be gathering in the Waterfront Metro.
The role of private security and their level of interaction with law enforcement was also inquired about. Officer Smith noted that MPD works with private security as much as possible but some agencies/buildings are more receptive than others.
Later in the meeting someone asked whether a less punitive approach would be better, perhaps providing activities for the juveniles. Officer Smith noted that he and other officers often drop by the rec center and play basketball with the teens and get to know them in a social, relaxed setting. One attendee noted that some cities use an award system whereby the teens earn chits or points that they can then turn into gift cards or other items.
The following crime statistics were pulled from crimemap.dc.gov for the time parameter Feb. 15 to March 8. More detail is on crimemap.dc.gov.
First District Summary
The First District saw a decrease in violent crime since the last meeting (46 last month, 20 this period). Theft from auto crimes remain an issue. Burglaries decreased from 13 to 7.
|Assault with Dangerous Weapon
|1 cases with a gun (unchanged over last period)
0 cases with another type of weapon (unchanged over last period)
|0 Robberies without a gun (a decrease of 2 over last period)
0 robberies with a gun (unchanged over last period)
|Theft From Auto||24 thefts recorded in last period but 12 in this period|
|Burglaries||0 cases this period (unchanged over last period)|
Questions from Audience
Shootings near Friendly Market
One attendee asked for an update on the shooting at/near the market and the loitering/possible illegal activity occurring there. Officer Smith noted that MPD was patrolling the area with specialized units and regular patrols. When asked about a recent shooting on N St., he noted that it was still an open case.
Cars Driving Down Sidewalk between Ft. McNair and Riverside.
An attendee noted that he was walking down the sidewalk between Riverside and Ft. McNair and was almost run down by a vehicle traveling at a fairly high rate of speed off P St. onto the sidewalk. The cars seem to be turning right and using a rear parking lot. Officer Smith noted that this area may not be fully in MPD’s jurisdiction but that he would note it to his superior officers.
Police Resources and Wharf Opening
The opening of the Wharf was mentioned and Officer Smith was asked about the impact of new residents on police resources or whether the Wharf would have its own security contingency. Lt. Robinson addressed this question last month. Officer Smith echoed his answer that they would have personal security at the Wharf but MPD would likely have a special team dedicated to the area. Adjustments are made all the time to correspond to population shifts and crime trends.
Concerns about Daylight Savings Time Offering Greater Opportunities for Criminal Activity
One participant expressed concern that the time change would cause a corresponding increase in criminal activity. Officer Smith noted that traffic would increase because of baseball season and tourism but that it depends on the year as to the impact on criminal activity.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:15 p.m.
Thank you again to Officer Smith for agreeing to lead the meeting, to Sgt. Architzel of the Crime Suppression Team for doing without a valued team member for 90 minutes, and to the lieutenant serving as watch commander that night who took the time to relay our request for an officer to cover the meeting. Thank you all for making the meeting possible.