Archive for the ‘Public Safety’ category

MPD Fourth District Leadership Meets with Park View Community on Public Safety

June 27, 2019

MPD Fourth District Capt. John McDonald (left) and Commander Randy Griffin (right).

In response to recent violence in the Park View neighborhood and staffing changes within the Metropolitan Police Department ((MPD), MPD Scheduled a community meeting on June 26th at the Park View Recreation Center. The meeting was well attended and included ANC1A Commissioners Michael Wray and Kent Boese as well as representatives from the Mayor’s and Councilmember’s offices.

The meeting was presided over by the new 4D Sector 3 Police Captain, John McDonald and Fourth District Commander, Randy Griffin.

While there was little information the officers could share about the active homicide investigations related to the June 19th shooting death of 29 year-old Juan Marcell Grant on the 700 block of Princeton Place, NW and the June 22nd shooting of two people on the 600 block of Morton Street where 45 year-old Melton Grant was killed, they did respond to overall public safety concerns and share some information.

Commander Griffin shared that the murders are unrelated and acknowledged that the gun related crimes are up in many parts of the city, not just in Park View. He also shared that the typical age range for those involved in shootings is between 18 and 24/25. It was interesting to note that Captain McDonald shared that MPD officers in the Morton Street area have also been shot at themselves while on patrol and that special officers have been assigned to the area. Additionally, on Morton Street MPD is collaborating with the DC Housing Authority Police for that area.

According to MPD, often what is happening is that a petty argument escalates quickly and one person has a firearm, often illegal, who then used it. For this reason, MPD has made illegal gun retrieval a priority as part of their response.

Additionally, the meeting afforded an opportunity to have a more robust conversation about public safety in general, address tensions between newer residents and long-term residents, and emphasized that staying alert and being aware of your surroundings is instrumental in staying safe when out in the community.

At the close of the meeting the Park View Rec Center staff also gave an overview of their programs and what they are doing to help reduce violence in the neighborhood, including a summer basketball tournament for young men ages 16-18 and a series of community events in the works for Friday’s this summer.

Heads Up, CSOSA & MPD Third District Hosting Public Safety Roundtable

June 10, 2019

I’ve just been notified of the following CSOSA/MPD 3D Community Roundtable to promote Safe Neighborhoods that will be on the evening of June 20, 2019. Please see the flyer below for details.

While this event is at the Third District Substation, the information should be relevant to all residents regardless of what police district they live in.

If Removing On-Street Parking Spaces Also Removed an Open-Air Drug Market, Would That Be a Fair Trade?

April 25, 2019

The 600 block of Newton Place, NW, has been a difficult street for many years. It is narrow. It does not have street trees. And, it has had an on-again, off-again history of open-air drug dealing. We all know that crime is a complicated thing to solve. Clearly, the police play a role, and continue to do so on Newton Place. Social Services also play a key role and we are increasingly identifying public safety issues that are better suited for agencies geared toward addressing addiction and homelessness, as examples.

But what about planning and design? The short answer is yes. Poorly planned roads, streets, and infrastructure can similarly invite criminal activity or at least provide a desirable environment for it.

The 600 block of Newton Place is one area that I believe rises to this threshold.

One recent Saturday as I was walking down the block, I noticed that a brand new Audi A6 was parked on the block, about mid block, with out to District tags. As I was walking, another vehicle with out of District tags parked on the block. The new driver got out of their car and walked up to the Audi where the two then proceeded to conduct a drug transaction. This was shortly before noon.

It got me thinking — if the on-street parking on the block is being used as part of an active drug market, is it serving the community? Moreover, would there be a significant hardship to the neighbors if much of the on-street parking was removed? Even more, if the parking could be removed, could a portion of it be repurposed for street trees on a block where no street trees currently exist.

The overview below shows the area in question. Today, Newton Place is one-way eastbound. There is no parking on the north side of the street and 22 parking spaces on the south side of the street.

(Overview of the 600 block of Newton Place, NW. The red arrow indicates off-street parking currently unused.)

Of the 22 parking spaces currently on Newton Place, I would recommend keeping the five between Georgia Avenue and the entrance to the alley. These support the Ward 1 Senior Wellness Center and the businesses on Georgia Avenue. Also, any resident can park in them afterhours for free. Lastly, as trash and recycling is collected in alleys in Ward 1, keeping the street in its current configuration up to the alley entrance would not create a new hardship for these core city services.

This would leave 17 parking spaces that could potentially be removed. In walking the alleys both north and south of Newton Place, with few exceptions each property has access to off-street parking. Much of it is used, though some of it isn’t. In one case, the apartment building at 636 Newton Place appears to have room for 4 or 5 parking spaces, but the area is fenced off and currently unavailable. This wouldn’t have to stay this way.

(Parking area at the rear of 646 Newton Place, NW, that is currently fenced off.)

In reviewing the current inventory of current and potential alley parking for the properties along Newton Place, about 10 new spaces could be accommodated without significant hardship — this means that the net loss of parking would be 7 spaces.

The question becomes, would losing 7 spaces overall on Newton Place be an agreeable trade off if it also removed the opportunity for out of District vehicles to park there and conduct their drug business on a daily basis?

As a potential bonus, presuming there were wide support for decreasing on-street parking on Newton Place, a portion of the former parking area could be repurposed for about 8 new street trees (see image below).

(Could a portion of the parking on Newton Place be repurposed for new trees?)

As stated at the beginning of this post, Newton is a narrow street currently consisting of one travel lane and one lane of parking. The average width of an American car is 6 feet, meaning that if just 3 feet of the street formerly dedicated to parking were repurposed for a line of street trees, the travel lane would increase in width by 3 feet. The overall result could be a street with less crime, a safer street for travelers, and a more beautiful street with the addition of a tree canopy.

Police District Changes Take Effect

January 10, 2019

At last night’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1A meeting, Fourth District Captain Sean Conboy — who is new to the Fourth District — briefly discussed the changes to the Third and Fourth Police Districts announced last month and informed the assembly that they take effect today, on January 10th. He also stated that no staffing changes are being made right now, so essentially the same manpower will now be focused in the same PSA geographic areas (though those area’s boundaries have changed). The Mount Pleasant neighborhood moved to the Third District.

To assist with what areas are impacted and what the Police Service Areas boundaries are, refer to the two maps below. You can also find contact information for officers on the Fourth District Roster, available here.

New District Boundaries

New PSA Boundaries

Police Redistricting Schedule for January 2019, Will Unite Park View

October 24, 2018

According to a Tweet by Kevin Donahue, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice, Police Chief Peter Newsham discussed the planned police district boundary changes that will go in effect in January with Mayor Bowser and the Council of the District of Columbia at their breakfast on Tuesday, October 24th. In looking at the images Donahue shares, for Park View the area bordered by Columbia Road, Sherman Avenue, Park Place, and Park Road would move from the Third District to the Fourth District. See below.

Another big change is that Mount Pleasant would be moved from the Fourth District to the Third District.

You can see all the maps shared by Donahue at his Tweet below:

 

 

Come Joing the Community Dialogue with MPD Cheif Peter Newsham This Saturday February 10th

February 7, 2018

On Saturday, Feburary 10th, there is an excellent opportunity to engage and speak with Police Cheif Peter Newsham on issues concerning public safety in Park View. The following details were shared on the Park View listserv. All are welcome and encouraged to attend.

The Park View UNC’s Public Safety Working Group and ANC1A Cordially Invite you to

A Community Dialogue with MPD Chief Peter Newsham
and other guests
on Public Safety in Park View

This Saturday, February 10th from 10:15-noon
Park View Rec Center, 693 Otis Pl. NW (Entrance on Warder St.) 

Please join your neighbors for a dialogue with Peter Newsham, Chief of the DC Metropolitan Police Department, regarding public safety in our neighborhood. Representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office have also been invited to participate.

The meeting will include brief presentations from members of the Park View Public Safety Working Group highlighting areas of concern for our community, followed by a dialogue with Chief Newsham and other guests. All Park View residents are welcome to attend and ask questions.

Many neighbors are likely aware that 6 shootings have taken place in Park View since December 20th. This meeting will be a chance for in-depth discussion of how the community and MPD can work together to make our neighborhood safe for all. It will cover both recent incidents and longstanding community concerns.

We hope to see you on Saturday! If you are interested in becoming part of the Park View UNC’s Public Safety Working Group, please email elanor(dot)starmer(at)gmail(dot)com or
cliffvalenti(at)outlook(dot)com.

Notes from the January PSA 302/409 Crime Meeting

January 18, 2018

The January PSA 302/409 meeting at the 4Th District Substation on Park Road included some changes and case updates.

The biggest change was that PSA 409 now has a new Lieutenants, Sean Connors, who will be working the evening tour of duty. Prior to his assignment at the Fourth District, he was a sergeant at the Second District for a little over 3 years and an officer assigned to the Sixth District for almost 5 years. Lieutenant Jonathan Munk, who has been serving PSA 409 will be moving to PSA 408 in the Mount Pleasant area.

The meeting began with officers for both the 3rd and 4th Districts reviewing crime statistics and stating that crime is largely down across the board in comparison to last year. While this may be true when considering events in the overall areas represented by the reports, a good amount of time was spent discussing how that isn’t necessarily true for the Park View area which straddles both the Third and Fourth districts along Georgia Avenue.

Residents at the meeting focused the discussion largely on problem properties on the 600 block of Newton Place, NW, and asked about the process for getting a property recognized as a nuisance property. It is the Office of the Attorney General that determines when a property is a nuisance, and the process does take some time, but the officers at the meeting confirmed that they are aware of the properties, working to address them, and patrolling the area regularly.

Regarding the shootings in December, 3D Commander Emerman was at the meeting and shared that an arrest has been made in the double shooting at Georgia and Fairmont that occurred on December 29th. The charge is assault with intent to kill.

Commander Emerman also shared that a second arrest has been made in the shooting that occurred on December 20th on the 600 block of Morton Street.

With regards to shooting cases in the area, the 3rd District Prosecutor of the United States Attorney Office for the District of Columbia asked residents to consider writing community impact statements related to the arrest following the August 25th incident where an individual fired shots down the escalators at the Columbia Heights Metro Station.

At the end of the meeting, Commissioner Boese noted that the 14th Street businesses Jimmy Johns, Jenkins BBQ, Gussini, and Children’s Place are all closed or closing, and asked if the increase in vacant store fronts would impact MPDs police deployment. In response, Commander Emerman stated that this section of 14th Street is already a focus area with high call volume, and the store closings wouldn’t impact their deployment or patrols.

The meeting wrapped up shortly after 8 pm.


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