Thursday, September 14, 2006

Town Meeting on Crime, 9/14

I was late for the meeting (6:00 start times are tough for us working folks), so I won't attempt a comprehensive recap. But I got there in time for most of it, and the refrains were familiar, though attendance seemed down a bit from last time.

One recurring theme was the complaint that the police aren't following up on information provided by residents, and therefore people aren't calling the police because they think there will be no response. Another was that there are a number of fine police in the district (officers Barnes and Brown were specifically cited), but also too many who are lazy and ineffective. The need for community policing was cited again. (The police representatives cited the new out-of-car patrols, mounted police presence, etc. to show something was being done of this sort.) [Comment: I can't say I've seen much of that--has anyone else?]

One resident suggested that night courts were needed to process people when they are arrested rather than force the arresting officer to return in the morning to do the paperwork. The judge on the panel said that this was unnecessary in a city this size and not an effective use of resources, but Chief Ramsey said that he thought we should have "night papering" because the current system was a big disincentive to making arrests. The Chief also said that he needs specific information on ineffective cops, not just vague complaints, and reiterated (as he did in June) that if people want to remove criminals, they need to report the information that they know about the crimes.

ANC2C chairman Thorpe got praise for his anti-crime efforts, and noted (as did others) that the new surveillance cameras had caused the problem hang-out locations to shift to other corners. He again cited the Lincoln-Westmoreland and Kelsey Gardens apartments as places where drugs are being dealt openly and where other crimes are recurring problems. (He pointed out that both these places are in Alex Padro's district, claiming that Padro's area had the most crime, while his was the safest. Padro then said that actually Barbara Curtis's district had had the most shooting. I thought I detected some eye-rolling in the audience during these statements.)

Councilman Jack Evans said he would convene another meeting probably in January or February after the new Fenty administration was in place and promised to have the new mayor and council chairman there.


At 9/14/2006 8:57 PM, Blogger si said...

Thanks Daddy 5-O. I just posted a long winded recap (again) and had to really sum up the comments. I'm beat!

At 9/14/2006 9:27 PM, Blogger Left-wing said...

These meetings are truly getting repetitive and the lack of attendance proved that. But I agree with you as I too have not seen the increased police. I've seen the mounted police during the day, but come night fall.. NOTHING! And the police never addressed the questions raised regarding increased night presence (maybe someone else did?)

At 9/15/2006 12:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

chairman thorpe always starts this kind of bickering about who's SMD is better and who's is worse.

At 9/15/2006 2:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


vince gray will be the new council of district of columbia chairman, not president.

At 9/15/2006 6:18 PM, Blogger DaddyFiveOh said...

Anonymous #2: You're quite right. Duly noted and corrected. It was late, I was tired, well, you know...

Anonymous #1 (same person?): Yes I know, I've heard him do this many times, and he never notes any such problems in anyone's district except Alex's. I think it's the first time I've heard Alex Padro respond in kind, though.

From what I can see the shootings and other serious crimes have been pretty randomly distributed among the 4 commissioners' districts. As long as they're doing what they can to get the police to address known problems, I really don't see how an individual commissioner can be somehow held negligent for a crime that occurs in his district.

To all anonymous commenters: Please identify yourself in some way, if only with initials.

At 9/19/2006 12:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um, okay.

According to MPD-published stats, the PSA (nearly) contiguous to Commissioner Thorpe's Single-Member District is the lowest-crime PSA in the area--by quite a large amount. Whether or not this blogger knows that, or believes otherwise based on his own observations, is plainly irrelevant (although, I've gotta wonder: if one can't be bothered to make himself aware of the actual facts-on-the-ground, why would one be under the impression that he should be taken seriously when he chooses to comment on those facts?).

Or have I missed the point? Is this sophistry really supposed to be read as a Study in Solipsism, and I'm just not "in-the-know" enough to appreciate it's oh-so-French irony, what with it masquerading as citizen's journalism and all?

Perhaps... but it is wonderfully entertaining (in my low-brow sort of way) to hear that Commissioner Padro (or, oh so affectionately, "Alex") shouldn't share some responsibility for the comparatively high crime problem in his Single-Member District. (I thought that holding elected officials accountable for results was what responsible citizens did? Apparently, in Shaw, it's neither the economy nor the crime, stupid--it's the clique!)

However, it's fair enough to wonder: if Commissioner Padro dedicated the same energy to crime issues in his SMD as he does to, say, historic preservation issues, might he be able to cite similar results in his end of the neighborhood?

An honest observer would have asked the question.

I wonder where I can find one of those?


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