Friday, June 17, 2016

response to recent crime wave

See this 06-17-2016 message from a Randolph Place NW:

Some may write off the recent wave of crimes happening in Bloomingdale as the typical "start-of-summer delinquency" spree known to long-time D.C. residents -- but that would be a mistake to do, I believe.  Your listserv has now reported once too often on shockingly similar armed-robbery incidents (all involving resembling-description assailants, identical 'silver' handgun descriptions, and proximate locations).  I and many others must have noticed the similarities -- I wonder if the MPD has, as well?!  This is on top of your "regular" stolen-package kind of stuff: we have now had more than our share of unacceptable crimes -- actually violent attacks, including one on my block on Randolph Place, N.W., as well as the armed robbery ("man shot in face") at Crispus Attucks Park, etc.  I can simply quote the headlines from this listserv to make the point: "Two Sexual Abuse Offenses on the Unit Block of R Street NW" / "MPD: Armed Carjacking This Morning at 5:33 am at 1st & Florida Avenue NW" & “Truxton Circle: Woman robbed at gunpoint while unloading groceries from car occupied by child."

The list goes on, sadly.

As the MPD appears purely reactive, rather than proactive, in this respect (note the multitude of closely-timed events in nearby areas, indicating a probability of repeat offenses in a clearly under-policed area), it is incumbent upon the residents and their elected representatives to take charge and demand more safety measures.

ANC rep Teri-Janine Quinn already responded positively to my earlier message on our block's listserv, and I believe with her and other ANC reps' help, we can and should navigate neighborhood politics to go about putting this on the agenda of our city leaders and the MPD.  In addition, perhaps a "Tweet Campaign" of us (concerned Bloomingdale residents) can help?  Something like tweeting "#ProtectBloomingdale" "#PoliceWard5" or some similar (admittedly corny-sounding) hashtag, tweeted at the @DCPoliceDept account, by dozens and dozens of B'dalians, might to the trick?  I don't know.  I'm just throwing out brainstorming ideas.

Other ideas would be: (1) Safety cameras as deterrent and also for evidentiary purposes; (2) more foot and bike patrols (rather than police cruisers), irregularly scheduled; (3) more plain-clothes officers patrolling so as to actually make a difference and witnessing real-life behavior, vs. temporary behavior when uniformed patrols are visible; (3b) related to that, can the MPD use "decoys" in the affected areas, not to "provoke/entrap", but to secure evidence? (4) home-security systems with cameras; (5) more people turning on their front porch lights at night, manually or automatically on a timer; (6) we used to have a neighborhood watch effort, I think.  I never participated, but it may be time to revive that concept.

Let me be clear: I am not a fan of experiencing a surveillance state.  I do not want to live in an Orwellian "1984"-style country.  And I cringe at even the nomenclature "neighborhood watch," as it reminds me of horrors like the Trayvon Martin tragedy when done wrong.  But I don't see another alternative to having violent crime on our streets.  When mothers with babies are robbed at gunpoint, my neighbor has rocks thrown at him in broad daylight, and a gun goes off in a construction worker's face in the afternoon next to a neighborhood park with kids, the buck stops.

In sum, it is ludicrous that we have five-times more parking enforcement personnel presence on our streets than MPD officers to "serve and protect" us.  That ratio needs to be flipped around.

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