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|Posted: Sat Feb 04, 2006 6:50 pm Post subject: PSA 301 Minutes to January 2006 Meeting
Police-Community Meeting Notes
Meeting of January 10, 2006
Next Mtg.: Tues, Feb.14th, 7pm/Library
I. Welcome, Convenience Information & Introductions
Introductions: Everyone introduced themselves at the beginning of the meeting. There were 15 people from the community in attendance, as well as about 5 officers from PSA 301, Lt. David Sledge, Inspector Burke, and Det. Crespo and one of his colleagues, Brian Van.
Community Announcements: The following announcements were made about upcoming community meetings:
Special ANC Mtg: Weds., Jan.11th, 2006, for election of officers and discussion of Bestway public space permit application, at La Casa at 7pm
Next Regular Monthly ANC Mtg., 1st Tues of Feb, Feb. 7th, 2006 at La Casa at 7pm
NOTE: We did not follow the order of the published agenda at the meeting. Det. Crespo had to leave early so we let him talk with everyone at the beginning of the meeting and so the order of agenda items was not maintained.
II. Detective Crespo from 3rd District Detective’s Unit
Detective Joe Crespo and Brian Van came to the meeting to give an update from the detective side of what is happening in the 3rd District.
Crespo apologized for arriving a few minutes late; he said that he was serving a search warrant for a guy who had been recently arrested for carrying a gun.
He said that as far as robberies go, things have been going well lately, and that the police officers have been really working hard.
He said that he recently made some arrests in the lower end of the 3rd District over at 6th & “O” Sts. in PSA 308. The suspect was arrested for one robbery but then admitted to 4 others.
He added, with regard to youths and working with them, that the day before the community meeting, they were sitting out in their car somewhere doing some reconnaissance. He said it was no secret who they were, being that although their car is unmarked it did have lights and people knew.
So some juveniles started walking around their car and making fun of the officers, even pretending to be mooning them. Crespo said that he wanted to point out to us tonight that what these youth were doing; bringing attention to themselves in that matter was not a good way to do it.
He said it would be much different and much better had the youths approached the officers and said something to them like “what’s going on?” Crespo said he would’ve even offered the youth to ride with them.
He said the youth like this are asking for bad attention.
Crespo said that he has 2 kids at home and that he doesn’t go to work everyday to baby sit.
Crespo said that their work on robberies is going well; he mentioned another youth that had been arrested and provided them some valuable information on another case.
Someone asked if the recent homicide in Cleveland Park had any similarities to the Shipe case even though the victim there was not walking their dog, they were out walking in the evening, and it was possibly a robbery turned homicide.
Crespo responded that a lot of robberies are just one pulse away from a homicide. He said “a lot of gang kids are a pulse away from homicide when they are beating people with 2 x 4’s
Crespo gave example of another case the week before last on a Friday, on 3100 block of 11th Street where a guy walking was knocked out and had his skull fractured in a robbery.
Talking on the cell phone or coming home drunk will make you an easy target said Crespo.
Someone asked Crespo if robberies turning into homicide is recent trend.
Crespo answered that he didn’t know the answer to that. He replied that robbery is a violent crime by nature. He reiterated that a lot of times robberies are a pulse away from homicide.
He said that sometimes the perpetrators may kill their victims because the victim got a good look at him and thus does not want to be caught.
Someone commented that they don’t understand why so many arrests and many criminals with multiple arrest record and they are let out quickly into the street -- stating that if you do the crime, the belief was that you should do the time.
The resident shared the belief that the judicial system/penal system is too lenient.
Inspector Burke had mentioned that the ANC of Dupont Circle had just recently invited a judge to attend their meeting but the judge could not make it to the meeting. He suggested that maybe we should invite a judge to one of our meetings.
Crespo said that he couldn’t comment about the judicial system. He said that is way above him and that his job is to make arrests and he is focused on that and he can’t speak for what happens above him in an area that is not in his control or realm.
Crespo added that in the case of the robbery that occurred on New Years Eve of a Hispanic female at 14th & Euclid, the victim was able to provide good information and description so police were able to apprehend assailant. It turns out that he was out on early parole and now he is not going to go out anytime soon. Crespo said his sentence would be from 3 to 5 years due to parole violation.
Someone asked Crespo if most robberies are a pulse away from homicide and if a citizen is being robbed, should that victim be trying not to look at the perpetrator of the crime so that they can avoid being killed.
Crespo answered that he didn’t want to make it sound so extreme and apologized for that. He said that there are also the other kinds of robberies out there where for example in one recent incident the robber had a lighter that looked like a gun and in another instance, the victim who was Korean started to fight back the assailant and the assailant ran off and when he was caught he said that he ran off because he was afraid the victim knew karate and would hurt him.
He stressed the importance of following your instincts in a situation. He said you will have to assess it for yourself and decide what to do. He said in the case of the Hispanic female robbed on New Years Eve, her ability to observe and relay her observations was crucial in the ability to capture the assailant.
Again, the importance of not letting yourself be a target in the first place was reiterated - ROBBERS WILL GO AFTER THE EASIEST PREY OR TARGET:
Most Important Things to Do To Avoid Being a Easy Prey/Target For Robbery:
BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS
DO NOT WALK AND TALK ON YOUR CELL PHONE
DO NOT WALK WHILE LISTENING TO MUSIC
LOOK BEHIND AND ALL AROUND YOU CONTANTLY
Crespo was asked if there were any updates on the Shipe case. He said there was no further info. Also Lt. Sledge said he spoke to Det. Patterson in the last couple of days for an update. Patterson informed him that there was no new information and the case was still open. The $25,000 reward is still available to anyone with information leading to an arrest and conviction.
III. Crime Reports
Inspector Burke injected the arrest statistics for the year for 2005 for the 3rd District:
[we have asked for these numbers so we could include them in the notes, but have not yet received them] We do know that there were a total of 8,522 total arrests for 2005 in 3rd District.
Burke said that overall crime in 3rd District overall in 2005 finished the year at a 5% reduction.
With robberies, however, the stats were not as good --- robberies for the year increased by 2% over 2004. There were 1123 in 2004; 1143 in 2005 in the 3rd District.
Therefore Burke said, they still need to do a better job with robberies and he said that they are focusing on that this year.
The statistics for 3rd District for Theft from Auto & Stolen Autos were overall down although still a big problem in certain areas.
As far as PSA 301 statistics for the year there was an overall 6% reduction in crime in 2005 with a total of 413 reported crimes in 2005. In comparison, PSA 302 had 1,293 crimes for the year with an 11% overall reduction.
PSA 301 is the safest area of the Third District according to Inspector Pat Burke.
Once you cross 16th Street, the frequency of crime according to the statistics is much higher.
Burke said that they are considering creating a hot spot in the Columbia Heights area.
In PSA 301 we are up 7 robberies and 9 burglaries, and there were 20 fewer stolen autos in 2005.
As far as who is committing the crimes, there are lots of locals who are doing it
Crime Emergency declared by Chief Ramsey has been now suspended.
The last few weeks of the year ended with a substantially fewer number of robberies.
7pm to 3am is when most robberies occur with a spike up after 10pm.
Burke said that cold weather is really our friend, as crime tends to go down in the cold weather.
Mitch Backfield, ANC Commissioner for 1D02 asked if there was any further information about the robbery assault that occurred on 12/2 - assault with gun -- on Brown Street - Crespo said he would look into it and let the Lt. Sledge know if there was anything he could report.
Backfield further added that Brown Street is scary looking, need brighter lights, it’s secluded -- the area around Brown, Oak, Meridian, and Oakwood is an isolated stretch.
Burke said that speaking of that area, he wanted to mention that there was a party on Oakwood where there is a warrant out for father who had 18 yr old son and 20 other kids ages 14 to 19 drunk and creating all kinds of problems over back in there.
Mr. Ferrifino from Don Juan’s asked about an incident he had a friend visit him at the business who was trying to leave but the officer had blocked the car in and he thought that it wasn’t proper conduct for the customer to be blocked in as the customer was trying to leave and not park illegally.
He said it was a female Hispanic officer.
Lt. Sledge said, nor the other PSA officers were able to explain, the behavior because they said they weren’t there but they said that they didn’t have a female officer. The officers suspected that it was a parking enforcement employee.
Another resident at the meeting said that he lives on 17th Street off the main commercial street and that from his perspective and observations, he doesn’t see the police patrolling the back streets/side streets off Mt. Pleasant St. very much. He said that the police are not around at all on 18th St. or 17th St. and just pass by maybe at 2 or 3pm and at 8pm and that’s it. He thought that the police should come through more often.
Lt. Sledge responded saying that he would speak to the midnight sergeant and ask about how often they are having the side streets patrolled.
Another resident also mentioned that if they see an officer in a car that people don’t really feel all that safe. Officers sitting in the car are often not so aware of their surroundings, often looking down at a computer screen or talking on the cell phone.
A resident mentioned a scenario which occurred over a year ago, when he witnessed some pull out the air-conditioning unit from a house and then the thief noticed the witness and told him to be quiet. The thief then went to another house and pulled out another air-conditioning unit and at this point the witness called the police.
He said that police apprehended the thief and when he did they brought him over to his home and knocked on his door and asked him if this was the guy he saw. He said that he didn’t think that was appropriate behavior because now the thief knew who he was and where he lived.
He said that he was very worried about this -- this occurred when he was living at Sherman & Irving and there was already lots of elicit activity there behind the Bruce Monroe Elementary school.
Lt. Sledge that this is not protocol -- they should never identify you that way --
Since so much time has gone by a complaint couldn’t be made now, but if someone did have a complaint about an officer’s conduct there are channels to take the complaint.
Another resident said that the operators when you call 911 or 311, that they ask for too much information. He claimed that the operators would ask him for his social security number.
Lt. Sledge said that they may ask for your name but they do not ask for a social security number.
He explained that they ask for a name and a call back number in case the police need more information to follow up on the case and apprehend the assailant. He said that it was your option to leave your name and number and it was definitely not required for you to do so.
The way operators ask for a caller’s name and phone number was discussed. They should be saying something like, “would you like to leave your name and number”; however, some may be just saying “your name and number” leading some to believe that it is required.
The officers mentioned a case where they answered a call for service and because there was no one they could phone back and the caller never left a phone number, they were unable to find anyone when they got to the scene and thus the suspects got away.
Quiles added that this is where LiveLink is so helpful because you can have an officer come to the scene more quickly and respond to a situation. He added also that if a caller doesn’t speak English, Quiles can answer the LiveLink line and still understand.
Personnel was discussed --- Henderson is detailed currently to midnight shift.
They have Officers Harrell, Diggs, Sgt. Jackson but Sgt. Jackson is going to be promoted to Lieutenant shortly, and McCoy, Quiles, etc.
With Sgt. Eckles also being out, Lt. Sledge said that he is going to be out 2 sergeants. He said that he is asking for 2 sergeants to fill the vacancies.
Sgt. Eckles, was in a car accident and had a bad shoulder injury; she has been out since November due to the injury. She is trying to go through treatment to avoid surgery, but she is still not recovered from the injury.
One of the residents said that she has observed a lot more graffiti on Park Rd. recently -- Sacred Heart and 1610 Park have been tagged, and 1460 Park has similar graffiti. She said that there seems to be more young folk leaving graffiti along Park.
Also she said that she is concerned about a small build young black man about 5’2” to 5’3” in height, olive colored complexion with dread locks, who is apparently selling drugs on Park and at 2 of the shelters there.
The police thought this person maybe from 14th & Monroe area.
She said that he usually hangs around between 1630 to 1650 Park Rd. doing his drug sales, usually in the afternoons and on the weekends, after 3pm and before it gets dark.
The police said that they been unable to catch him in the act thus far but they’ve been watching him -- he leaves things on car windshields, etc. and has bicycle runners, etc.
The lieutenant said that they would bring this up with the drug unit/plains clothes officers to work on since the uniform ones can’t get far with this as they are all too visible.
Another resident asked about 3150 16th St. - the resident believed that there was something wrong going on inside there, having observed a “danger” sign on the outside. Someone had responded that this is because they have a stop work order for illegal construction activity.
For PSA 301 - Crime statistic comparison --- (this was not discussed in detail at the meeting but is provided now as a courtesy) - from November to December 2005.
Offense Nov Dec %Chg
Robbery 4 3 -33.3%
ADW 2 1 -100.0%
Burglary 7 3 -133.3%
Theft 2 3 33.3%
Theft F/Auto 9 9 0.0%
Stolen Auto 3 2 -50.0%
Totals 27 21 -28.6%
Locations of Robberies in December:
Robbery (Gun) 3422 Brown Street, NW on Dec. 2, 2005, at 11:35 am
Robbery (Fear) 18th & Newton, Street, NW on December 5, 2005, at 10:30 pm
Attempt Robbery (Knife) 3149 Mt. Pleasant Street, NW on December 24, 2005, at 2:20 pm
IV. New Future Operation Fightback?
In continuing the discussion from last month’s meeting, attendees were asked to give their comments, ideas, and suggestions for a future Operation Fightback event.
Those in attendance were asked if they knew what Operation Fightback was -- everyone in the room indicated that they were familiar with Operation Fightback.
It was mentioned that last year 2 Operation Fightbacks were held -- one in August focusing on domestic violence and another in October that was a physical trash clean up of an area that had a lot of criminal activity (the Irving-Harvard Triangle).
No one who attended the meeting offered any new ideas.
The ideas discussed last month were reiterated were a program directed at:
juveniles -- since much crime is emanating from youth; or
the dangers in going from the Metro (Columbia Hgts. Station) to Mt. Pleasant.
There was no one in the room who spoke out in opposition to either of the above suggestions.
Inspector Burke mentioned that we could do a check point.
He said that they are doing one of these in another location on January 19th in the area of 14th to 16th, Spring, Park, Parkland & Parkwood.
Burke explained that they would have a van that would have information and sign up opportunities for youth summer jobs, they would be giving out flyers in apartment buildings, they would be serving warrants, dealing with proliferation of graffiti with help of DPW.
Further discussion about safety at the Metro and to/from the Metro took place.
A few attendees mentioned that area residents have been surveyed and that a significantly large number will not use the Metro at Columbia Heights because they believe it to be too risky and dangerous.
Backfield, ANC 1D02 Commissioner said that if he goes home before 10pm, he is usually going home more casually but if he is going after 10pm he isn’t listening to music and he is almost running home and is watching all around him.
Inspector Burke was asked if a foot patrol was possible in a radius area around the metro and if that could help with addressing the amount of crime being generated out of the radius of the metro.
Burke and the Lt. said that there is already vice in the area and also there is a foot beat that is in the area of Hiatt Place, Park Rd., 14th St. and includes Irving.
However, citizens at the meeting said that they have not seen any police presence at the metro.
Officers discussed that with the really cold weather even foot beat officers need a break - that it is hard to spend an entire shift in really cold weather.
Officers indicated that the foot beat officer is likely more often in the other streets due to the issues there.
Residents say that they see no police along the stretch from the Metro to 16th St. on Irving and some concern was expressed about this.
Lucille Coutard said that her community group has addressed this with Metro Transit police and in fact had a Metro representative at one of their meetings. She added that we should work on getting more Metro Transit police enforcement.
It was discussed that supposedly little change has occurred thus far and Metro Transit should step up to the plate more to patrol the area surrounding the metro.
Burke suggested that we should invite Metro Transit Police representatives to the PSA meeting to discuss the issue in the near future.
John Adams, who works in Councilmember Jim Graham’s office added that Jim Graham sits on the Metro Board and so he would talk to Jim Graham about helping us with this effort.
Someone asked whether when the Lincoln school opens there if it will make a difference. Police responded that it may make some but little because the school is all enclosed by a fence - although some assailants may be going through holes that exist in the current fence to hide there now.
Det. Crespo was asked what in his perspective would be useful to him and making some arrests, enforcement and he said that he would like to see the Light Focus Mission Team set up over there on Irving by Hiatt.
Burke said that he could make that happen.
Everyone agreed that they would like to see it happen but it was pointed out that it was not in our PSA, but in PSA 302. So we would have to coordinate it with them.
The Light Focus Mission Team is where the big generator powered flood lights are set up to flood the area from nightfall into well into the night (until 2 or 3 or 4am) with bright light.
Crespo said that this would make a difference from his perspective.
Police also offered the opportunity to do a ride-along with a police officer. Anyone in the community who is interested in taking a ride for a few hours with an officer is welcome. Officers would be open to listen to suggestions and for resident to point out things along the ride.
On the issue of foot beat, Laurie Collins mentioned that she believed that we are a pedestrian city and therefore we should have pedestrian officers.
John Adams mentioned that Jim Graham has sponsored legislation to add 500 more officers to the police force and he said that currently the bill is stuck in Councilmember Mendelson’s committee. Adams recommended that IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE BILL TO ADD 500 MORE OFFFICERS GO THROUGH, PLEASE CALL OR WRITE TO COUNCILMEMBER MENDELSOHN.
V. PSA 301 Police-Community Youth Initiative - Brainstorming
Again, since there has been a growing amount of crime originating from the youth population and because they are young and can either ultimately become long term positive contributors to the community or end up being a source of long term problems in the community - we need to address the youth with seriousness.
Inspector Burke had discussed police efforts to deal with the youth.
He said that the police are working hard to enforce truancy and curfew laws and has seen that this enforcement has increased in the past year.
He said that just yesterday had kicked off the WEED & SEED program to address burgeoning youth crime.
Burke said that they are welcoming volunteers -- IF YOU ARE INTERESTING IN WORKING WITH YOUTH & ADDRESSING YOUTH CRIME -- YOU CAN GET INVOLVED:
Join the Weed & Seed program -- meetings are the 2nd Tues of the month at 5pm at 801 No. Shepherd St. - will be discussing various youth initiatives
Come to PSA meetings & get involved!
Volunteer to help come up with a police-community initiative with youth for PSA 301.
Marika Torok mentioned that Columbia Heights Youth Center attended a PSA meeting a couple of months ago with about 25 youth present. They were able to interact with the police and ask questions. They had the opportunity to see things from the officer’s perspective.
She also indicated that the Columbia Heights Youth Center representatives attending that meeting were interested in doing more with us.
Marika also said that she had made attempts to contact the Latin American Youth Center to begin to forge a relationship there and get them involved with PSA 301 police-community initiative for youth.
Marika also asked Inspector Burke if the WEED & SEED program could possibly be something that PSA 301 could have a role in and somehow incorporate in the PSA’s youth initiative.
Burke responded that since only the 1st meeting was held, nothing specific yet was outlined, but that maybe there was a possibility to do that in some fashion.
VI. OPERATION LIVELINK - REPORT/UPDATE
Officer Quiles said that the program is being used and it works.
Quiles said that it is still mostly the merchants along Mt. Pleasant St. that are using the program.
If there are disorderlies, he said that the merchants can rely on the officers --
Quiles said sometimes he gets to the scene and calls the dispatchers and tells them that he is already on the scene and no need to send anyone -- so he said it works
He said that so far this month - not as many calls - due to weather affecting the # of calls.
Quiles said that we need to expand the program so that more people in the neighborhoods use it as well.
There was discussion of more outreach
Letters are going out to residents and also to business owners asking for donations to keep the Operation LiveLink program going and make greater outreach feasible.
VII. NEXT MEETING: Tuesday, February 14, 2006, 7pm, Mt. Pleasant Library
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