Gosh. One would have thought crime has disappeared in PSA 106. While almost 100 people showed up for the December meeting, there were only 5 of us at the January 4 meeting. Why? I suspect most don’t pay much attention to crime unless the media picks up a victim story or the bloggers go nuts.
Sorry if you missed the meeting, as it was a particularly good one. We had an agenda, the first time I have seen such a document at a PSA meeting in many years. Lt. Micciche has the flu so the meeting was led by Sgt. Joshua Strassman, who is in charge of the evening shift in the PSA. He presented a comparison of crime report totals in 2010 vs 2009. The data show that all categories except thefts are down (see numbers below). Thefts are crimes of opportunity and most can be prevented by better securing of bicycles, asking UPS/FedEx not to leave packages at your front door, not hanging purses on your chair in a restaurant, etc.
Ms Lynette Collins was at the meeting from the DC Office of the Attorney General. Juvenile crimes are prosecuted by the OAG and she was able to answer many questions about that process. However, questions also arose from those who believe the system in DC is too lenient. I reminded everyone of the task force on juvenile crime CM Wells had a year or so ago that produced a list of suggested changes but noted that CM Graham now has oversight of the juvenile system. One item that came out of the task force was better sharing of information about juveniles with police. It turns out, according to Ms Collins, that victims and witnesses are also now able to be told about the resolution of a juvenile crime although they cannot share that information with anyone. If they do, they can be prosecuted.
Doug Klein, U.S. Assistant Attorney, 1D Community Prosecutor, was present. It turns out that the Jan 3 arrest of a theft from auto thief (see my Jan 4 email) was none other than our infamous Mr. Alfred Dent. Normally, these guys get what is essentially a slap on the wrist from the court system but this time the USA office has charged Mr. Dent with a felony. They are able to do this since he has been found guilty 3 times in the past of a misdemeanor charge; they also have a witness. Mr. Klein urges residents to prepare Community Impact Statements to aid the prosecutors in getting a sentence greater than 5 to 7 years. BTW, our other infamous theft from auto guy, Mr. Vines, is apparently out of jail these days and is probably working in our neighborhood. (I did a lot of reporting about these two guys back in early 2009. Can dig into my files for more information on them and how they are treated by the court system if folks are interested.)
Community Impact Statements. Carolyn Crank was at the PSA 106 meeting to urge residents to submit statements on the Papa Johns Pizza case (see my email of Jan 4). So we had an opportunity to discuss these statements. I had forgotten that it is not necessary to use the form. All you need to do is write up something about how your neighborhood and/or you personally are affected by crimes of the type. This statement can be sent as an email to Carolyn at <firstname.lastname@example.org> and she will get it to the appropriate prosecutors. The Papa John’s case statements are needed quickly as the sentencing in the case is scheduled for February 28.
Finally, Sgt Strassman reported on the actions MPD and other agencies are taking as a followup to the December meeting regarding Potomac Gardens. Here’s a partial list. In Phase One: processing any open arrest warrants, enhanced supervision of parolees (CSOSA: Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency), increased vice operations, serving of barring notices (Housing Authority police), conducting zero tolerance policing. In Phase Two: initiating removal processes for repeat/violent offenders, changing patrol patterns, and increased outreach to at risk kids. Obviously, these are all matters that should be conducted routinely. But like all of us, MPD and others have to choose where to focus their attention as they cannot be/do everything at once. Surely, the 100 attendees at the December meeting focused their attention on Potomac Gardens. But, something else will happen somewhere else and resources will have to be shifted. Hopefully, not before much of this good work is done.
Inspector Reese (supervises all the PSAs on the south side of Capitol Hill) was at the meeting and stated that he hopes to continue the heavier than normal PSA 106 and PSA 107 on foot and car patrolling in the area of Potomac Gardens for as long as he can. BTW, the robbery in December that occurred at 12th & Pennsylvania that I mentioned in my previous email? It occurred on 12/11 before the enhanced patrolling went into effect.
PSA 106 Year to Year Data. Homicides (1 in 2009, 0 in 2010; 100% decrease), Sex Abuse (3, 1, 67% down), Assaults w/o gun (25, 20; 20%), Assaults w/gun (7, 5; 29%) Robberies w/o gun (64, 49; 23%), Robberies w/gun (12, 9; 25%), Burglaries (70, 49; 30%), Thefts (137, 182; 33% increase), Thefts from Auto (246, 170; 31% down), Stolen Autos (67, 47; 30%), Arson (0, 0). Total violent crime (112, 84; 25% down). Total property crime (520, 448; 14% down). Total Crime (632, 532; 16% down)