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(See below for a more complete list of community meetings this week)
In response to the recent crimes around Ward 6--including three armed robberies* in recent days in Near Southeast--council member Charles Allen has scheduled a community meeting on public safety on Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 7 pm at the Friendship Public Charter School at 1345 Potomac Ave., SE.
Allen has invited police chief Cathy Lanier and 1D Commander Jeff Brown to "outline their plans and response" to handling the increased crime as well as to answer questions from residents.
According to his web site, Allen has been working with Lanier and Brown "to add more resources, manpower, and overtime to the neighborhoods," and has also been "looking at the long-term problem and solutions, working with Council colleagues on how we move forward to make needed legislative changes for our communities and our city."
While crime has been spiking around Ward 6 in recent months, the two armed robberies south of the freeway Wednesday evening (part of a string of five armed robberies within 30 or so minutes) brought an increase in concern from Near Southeast residents, even with the news that possible suspects were arrested the following evening after a chase by DC police into Maryland.
In addition, a third armed* robbery happened on Friday night at around 9:20 pm in the 900 block of New Jersey Ave., SE. According to the police report (and also described by the Post), a citizen was approached and robbed at gunpoint, but an off-duty MPD officer saw it happen and called for assistance--and as police saw the suspect leaving the area, the "victim of the robbery then suddenly reappeared and tackled the suspect." (Was it one of you guys?)
*However, in this case it was found out that the weapon used in the robbery was an "imitation pistol." The suspect was still arrested, and the victim's property was recovered.
Also, on Saturday night, there was a robbery at 4th and K SE.
PS: It's a shame that the public safety meeting is on the same evening as the Capper Square 767 public meeting, but These Things Happen. NOTE: This Capper meeting is going to be rescheduled.
(I've been out of town for a few days, so apologies for the slow news on the third robbery.)
UPDATE II: Per ANC commissioner Meredith Fascett, here is the full lineup of community meetings this week, some of which are specifically in regards to public safety, and others which can easily accommodate the subject. Note also that the Capper/Square 767 meeting that was also scheduled for Tuesday Oct. 27 is being postponed, with a new date to be announced.
* OCT. 26, MAYOR BOWSER: Mayor Bowser will speak and take questions tonight (Monday, Oct. 26) at 7 pm at the monthly Southwest Neighborhood Assembly (SWNA) meeting at Arena Stage, 101 6th St. SW.
* OCT. 27, ANC 6D07 OFFICE HOURS: Meet with Meredith Fascett at 10 am at Lot 38 Espresso.
* OCT. 27, MAYOR'S OFFICE: The Mayor's Office of Community Relations (MOCRS) is having office hours from 3 to 6:30 pm at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, 1636 E. Capitol St., NE.
* OCT. 27, CM ALLEN MEETING: As announced at the top of this post.
* OCT. 31 PSA MEETING: The monthly meeting of the neighborhood's Police Service Area, PSA 106, will be on Saturday at 10 am at 900 5th St. SE (the Capper Senior Building). MPD representatives will have information on the recent incidents in the neighborhood.
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conngs0 says: (10/28/15 9:33 AM)
Made it to the public safety meeting last night. I'm interested to know others' thoughts on what they heard.

My primary thought was that the folks in attendance (myself included) weren't ready to ask some of the more uncomfortable questions. For instance, the contribution of the public housing sites like Potomac Gardens to the recent spike in crime was left completely alone (as a consequence, beyond anecdotes, no one really knows what that contribution is, and therefore solutions weren't discussed). Likewise, the failures to prosecute (and rehabilitate) minors who commit so many of these offenses was only hinted at.

That doesn't mean the rest of the meeting wasn't useful. It's clear to me that Councilman Allen is very engaged in the community and understands all facets of the issue. I was impressed with the way he handled the meeting. One of the points that he emphasized aside from the general policing of the area and prosecuting of criminals was that continued investment in the recreation centers would pay dividends down the road by keeping kids occupied while also helping to teach them social skills that would serve them in the future. I can definitely get on board with that idea. However, he noted that the current rec centers are severely understaffed. I can't remember the adult-to-child ratio that he cited, but it was shocking to me and actually caused me to worry a bit about whether the rec center on 5th would end up being a positive contribution to the neighborhood or just simply be a source of disturbances.

I found the police chief to be quite reassuring, but I had already considered the local police precinct to be quite responsive and helpful when it comes to answering questions about the neighborhood.

Despite all the bluster about DOJ's prosecution rate, I know those statistics can be manipulated and interpreted in a variety of ways. I thought the DOJ rep did a good job of explaining his office's link in the chain as well as some of the legal constraints with which his office has to contend. The idea of a website allowing the public to easily access information about a crime from when it was reported, to the arrest, to the charges, and through the court system is an excellent one, and I think it would pay a lot of dividends in terms of highlighting shortcomings of the system.

And while I'm sure the representative from the Mayor's office is a nice guy, I came away with a better understanding that the Mayor's office simply doesn't have a grasp on the situation or a proper understanding of the neighborhood's priorities (there's probably a meeting where it'd be a good idea to tout a work/social program for someone who has committed multiple offenses, but it's not a public safety meeting attended by folks who could very well be the victims of those offenses!).

Just my two (or five) cents.

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