A Bloomingdale Public Safety Walk will take place at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13, to bring awareness to the importance of safety.
The public is invited to participate in the walk, which will start and end in front of Windows Café and Market at 101 Rhode Island Ave. N.W. at the corner of First Street.
“You, your children, dogs, friends and etcetera are all welcome to come regardless of where you live,” said Jennifer McCann, a Bloomingdale resident and coordinator.
The walk is three miles and will last for at least 90 minutes, depending on how far or fast participants walk. Participants are encouraged to dress comfortably in walking gear, such as tennis shoes.
The Bloomingdale Public Safety Walk is being presented by three Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners who represent Ward 5: John Salatti, ANC 5C04; Hugh Youngblood, ANC 5C03; and James Fournier, ANC 5C07.
The walk helps the community in two primary ways, Salatti said. First, the walk serves to deter crime. Secondly, neighbors meet new neighbors, whether they are walking or sitting on the front steps of their home.
“Our walks put eyes on the street, and nothing defeats the kind of petty crime that we deal with in this community than people being out there and showing the criminals that residents are watching and that they care,” Salatti said. “Criminals succeed when they can slip through the rents in the fabric of community. The walks are a way to strengthen.” Salatti said that officers of the Fifth District of the Metropolitan Police Department and the Howard University Campus Police Department often join the walkers.
“Certain times of the year, we’ve walked weekly, sometimes every other week, sometimes once a month,” he said. “The frequency depends on our ability to organize and advertise the walks.”
In the ’90s, public safety walks happened regularly, and they were called “Orange Hat Patrols,” Salatti said. He revived public safety walks in 2008 and has organized about 50 walks in the Bloomingdale area since then.
“This is about making a strong presence in the community,” McCann said, “showing that Bloomingdale will not tolerate crime in our neighborhood.”