Ward 6 residents met with PSA 104 police officials to discuss outbreak of robberies.
Ward 6 residents, Council member Tommy Wells, and several First District police officials gathered in Ludlow-Taylor Elementary School, the “Home of the Academic Warriors”, to discuss the rash of thefts, including snatch-and-grabs in the street and car-jackings, that have taken place in the ward and around the district.
“As we’ve read in the papers, there’s good news and bad news about the stings on fencing operations,” Council member Wells said at the beginning of the meeting which was held in the elementary school cafeteria.
The “bad news” about the operations are that the implicated several popular restaurant or businesses in the area, including a dollar store on H St. and Dandy’s, the take-out Chinese restaurant in Ward 2.
“It’s a little startling to me, if not to the rest of us, to think that’s where the fencing operation was,” Wells said, We’re a very short distance from a fencing operation. Commit a crime here, run up to Dandy’s, sell the phone for a 100 bucks or more and then leave.”
Wells then gave kudos to the police for shutting down the fencing operations that co-opted local businesses that Wells said he has promoted as a part of his council-member duties to support the local economy.
“The fact that they were participating in a business enterprise that allowed folks to prey on our citizens, their own customers, is really unconscionable,” he said.
After his introductory remarks, Wells stepped aside and let the First District Commander Daniel Hickson take the floor.
Commander Hickson said that the huge December spike in robberies in the district affected Capitol Hill and Eastern Market neighborhoods in Ward 6 the most. Since then, the number of crimes have declined, he said.
He contributed the decline to the police’s three-pronged method to “attack crime”: go after the offender, educate the victim, and try to change the environment. The latter involving a change in police presence by increasing police office deployment to a hotspot area, for example.
Hickson urged attendee to join the listserv for their ANC – 1D. He said that listserves allow him to reach the community quickly with the click of a mouse whether he simply post crime prevention tips or a crime alert update.
However, many meeting attendees felt that the police were not keeping them up-to-date about crime incidents and the police’s follow-up with the community was lacking.
Josh Hawthorne, a representative of Lincoln Park Terrace on Thirteenth St., NE, expressed frustration after several residents of the condominium/apartment complex were robbed. Hawthorne said they got a screen capture of the robber on the complex’ s security cameras and passed the picture onto the police.
“It’s been three or four weeks and we haven’t heard anything,” he said. “How come we don’t know what’s happening after we file a complaint; investigation-wise?”
Douglas Klein, an attorney with the United States Attorney’s Office who handles community prosecution for the district, stepped in and explained that case information could not be divulged until an investigation had ended and the eventual trial process had begun with a warrant or arrest.
Hawthorne sank back down into a small lunch-table seat, dejected and let out an exasperated sigh.