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’s 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.