Crime Meeting

So I just got back from the emergency crime meeting. Interesting hour and a half. It’s tragic that two individuals were shot last night at 1st & O St and Bates area. That has to be said upfront. It’s proof that though the Eastern edge of Shaw continues improve, there are still quality of life and crime issues that exist in the area that need to come to a hard stop, immediately.

Couple of thoughts. Vincent Orange was there and sort of took a MC role of the meeting. I’ve said it before on here, but I, Truxtonian, really do not like the man… at least as a public official. I think he does a very poor job with the responsibility bestowed upon him and he has done far less for the ward than should be expected of an elected representative. If he had put half the effort in helping his constituents fight crime as he has in his cheap political theatrics while running for mayor… well, there’d be less crime in his ward. I could go on about him, and how I think he cheapened the discussion with his calculated jabs against Cropp and other Councilmembers, but I saw this today and I think it sums up the tragedy of Vincent Orange quite nicely. Read Orange‚Äôs Long Shot Candidacy halfway down the page.

Ok, on to the meeting. If you missed the meeting, here’s my take on it. It may vary from what others heard or saw. The officers there, Lt Welch and Lt Wright, are very eager to make changes in the area. They picked up PSA 501 in February (I believe), so they haven’t had responsibility for the area for very long. Regardless, the residents in attendance did not seem very interested in cutting them much slack. Most of the residents’ heartfelt comments seemed to revolve around why the 1st St area has had problems with crime for the past 10+ years. There were emotional appeals and most people brought up fair points, to be sure. However, I’m not sure if the two Lieutenants are the right targets for some of the outrage. Maybe they are, I don’t know. One memorable moment was when ANC Brannum stood up and said that the dispatchers intentionally treat calls originating in this area differently than calls originating from other areas west of the park– implying the MPD does not respond to dispatches here the same as they do in more affluent areas because of who lives here.

Anyways, Lt Welch’s message was this: “Make us accountable to you.” So, whenever you call in a situation/issue, get the dispatcher’s number and record the time of your call. Write down the number of the scout car that is dispatched (it’s on roof, back bumper and sides of car). Follow up with Lt Welch, personally, if you are dissatisfied with the MPD’s service and provide enough information so that he can look up the officer that was dispatched, check the recording of the phone call with dispatch, and determine where the MPD failed the public. Lt Welch talked about some major progress that they continue to make. I think he mentioned four arrests for carrying weapons in the Bates/1st St area in the past week or so. He also said something about arresting an individual with something like 14 bags of heroin on him in the Hanover area within the past day or two.

Finally, the MPD mentioned that they have a pretty good idea of where a lot of the crime/chaos on 1st street is coming from. They identified a specific number of homes (3) that they believe are responsible for a large share of the crime. They are working hard to find a way to change the status quo. Time will tell how successful they will be.

Someone else there will probably have more info, another take on the meeting or something of more value than my quick impressions.

5 thoughts on “Crime Meeting”

  1. I think Comm. Jones mentioned something (police budget?) that was happening on the 9th (of May?) that we had to bug the council about, maybe someone else can elaborate.

    We are also having a meeting IT WAS NOT CANCELLED here in the “South” (Hanover Area) at MM Washington School on O at 6:30 pm Wednesday May 3. This was planned in a rush, but before the shootings occurred. It was called by Fayeete Vaugh Lee ( MPD 5D Community Outreach Coordinator. I believe she is relatvely new to the job and wants to get tknow the community and work with us as well. Aside from getting a report on what happened on First street, we intend to finish the meeting with some actions/steps, perhaps modest ones, to improve the current situation.

  2. CleopatraJonesCommissionerANC5C02 5/2/2006 3:03 PM PDT
    What we must do as a communbity is to demand that Councilman Orange presents a bill to the council to make sure that funds are included to bring services needed into this community, to provide more programs for the youth to keep idle minds occupied. Budget hearing is Tuesday May 9, we need to be on the list to testify on behalf of our communities needs. Our voices needs to be heard by the entire council and the District of Columbia, If Orange wont take the proactive approach to advocate for us some council person will. We need emergency legislation to appropriate funds into our community for adequate service delivery now! Everyone needs to get involve. Budget Hearing Tuesday, May 9th, 2006

  3. I remember Orange pushing that budget point several times and Cleo doing the same thing at the end. Not that I don’t think that money will help, it will, but I’m a cynic and I think the major reason Orange is trying to push the budget through is so that he can brag about how effective he is as a legislator during his run for mayor. From speaking to officers, most seem to feel like they have all the resources they need. They just need to be better deployed and the judicial system needs to be better about locking people up when they’re charged and found guilty– not putting them right back on the street. Those are two things Orange’s proposed budget don’t address.

    What I think needs to be done first, is that Orange needs to sit down with Ramsey– not walk through the area with cameras watching– but sit down and develop a written plan with metrics to be measured on to deal with crime in the area. Share that with residents, the press and the public and have both their rear ends on the line for making progress.

  4. It sounds like the same old story over and over again. I think we have had this meeting about 10 times in the past year. The resources are there. If you ask the cops, they will always blame the judges for not keeping these guys locked up. Personally, I have seen the same guy arrested twice in one week on my corner so I know there is some truth to this. There seems to be a lot of disorganization in the city ranks, which is probably indicative of a larger dysfunction that plagues many large organizations. First of all, there seems to be a lot of turnover in terms of who is in charge of the area. Now there are two new Lieutenants. What happened to the beat cops? Saw them once, never saw them again. After talking to them they made it sound like it was going to be a regular thing walking the beat. I am sure the high turnover rate contributes the most to implementing a long term viable crime fighting strategy. There is always this over reaction after a major crime where things get quiet and then it goes back to status quo. There needs to be a regular presence. Everyday when I come home there is a large group of teenagers and young people that hang out half way down the unit block of Bates. They are pretty rowdy. Yesterday a cop car came by, broke it up, and it looked like they arrested someone. Why not do that everyday? Coming from the NYC area, I am used to the cops not taking crap from anyone and giving a lot of crap to maintain order. I have no idea why the cops here are not the same. NYC has about 1/5 the violent crime we have. If there is a rowdy group of teenagers, break it up before it reaches a critical mass and something happens. At this point, I would be happy with a regular patrol because, despite repeated attempts to extract from the police at what frequency they should be patrolling a block, I still do not see a regular, frequent police presence. Having them actually get out of their car and do something would be a real added bonus. I don’t want to blame the cops totally but at least give them 1/3 the blame with 1/3 going to the dysfunctional city council and the other 1/3 going to the judges. BTW, when I asked the cops who the activist judges were they told me they could not say but to go downtown and sit in the court and find out who was lenient. Does anyone know who the lenient judges are? I wouldn’t mind giving them a piece of my mind.

    Hopefully we can make the area around 1st/Bates/N/O/P/Q a better place. Don’t know how yet though.

    Justin

  5. Robert Brannum is another overblown politico. Somehow he has time to spend worrying about crime at 1st and O, but he can’t be bothered to communicate with his own ANC SMD (Bloomdingdale). At least he’s learned how to play the race card.

    – JM

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