November 30, 2007

City to Boost Anti-Gang Efforts After Spike in Violence

Hum... This might explain why we haven't been very successful at getting roommates.

By Allison Klein

Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 30, 2007

At least five violent ganglike "crews" of young people are warring in the Columbia Heights and lower Georgia Avenue areas of Northwest Washington, where 11 people have been shot in recent weeks, city officials said yesterday.

Since early October, people in the neighborhoods have reported more than 100 gunshots, said D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D- Ward 1), who represents the area and has been pleading for more police attention. Officers have made two arrests in the cases involving the 11 victims.

It's absolutely incredible more people aren't wounded and shot," Graham said yesterday. "This situation is red-hot."

D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) joined Graham yesterday at Georgia Avenue and Harvard Street in Columbia Heights to announce plans to target hostile crews.

The police department is streamlining its gang intelligence unit, giving $1.2 million to community partnerships for gang intervention and spending $1.8 million to expand the ShotSpotter system, Lanier said.

"These crews are a very, very strong driving force behind the crime," Lanier said. "We have to get right to the heart of that."

ShotSpotter, a collection of gunshot recognition sensors, finds gunfire within seconds and alerts police to where the bullets were fired. D.C. police began using the technology last year in the 7th Police District, the southern half of the city east of the Anacostia River.


Halloween night was one of the most violent in Columbia Heights. Nine people were shot, including in a drive-by at 14th and Harvard streets NW that left four people wounded (note from 007inAfrica: this is one block from my house). A police car was half a block away and raced to the scene after an officer heard shots.


Columbia Heights community activist Thomas Kwesi Danda Smith said he has been frustrated by the police department's response to the violence.

"Police are reluctant to give us adequate coverage," Smith said. "We've been begging for foot patrols, for them to actually get to know residents, get to know business owners. They don't seem to have any ownership in the community or really care."


Carl said...

shotspotter is nonsense. it is a tech gizmo sold to less than proficient cops who want to be seen "doing something" but can't or won't do basic police work. citizens with a phone and a window to look out of are rather better.

Foot Patrols: what a novel idea, they have only been the prime factor in urban police work for the 20 centuries of so. The DC police would do well to heed Mr. Smith.

Anonymous said...

thanks that I didn't see that before coming!

Anonymous said...

Reminds me back when I worked as a deputy in California. On New Year's Eve, about 10-minutes to midnight, the dispatcher would announce on the radio "All units get in position." This meant that we would each park our patrol cars on the side of the road beneath a concrete overpass.

As soon as the clock struck midnight there was such a volley of gunfire from the "upstanding citizenry" that it would literally rain bullets. A few minutes later we all resumed patrol -- safe -- but as if nothing happened.

007 in Africa said...

Carl, I agree that there's nothing better than phoning the cops when there's something suspicious...But sometimes you get so apathetic (should I call everytime I hear something that sounds like a gun has been fired?)

Carl said...

it is normal to feel a bit futile when you call and talk to an anonymous voice on the phone. that is why the DC police have to do their part.

if there was an officer assigned to walk your area and he said "hello Miss. how are you today?' everytime he saw you walking to the bus stop, things would be much easier. you would feel comfortable talking to somebody you were familiar with. you could ask questions about what you see and what you could look out for. he could ask you questions about things you didn't even knew you knew; all in the course of normal conversation with somebody you know.

multiply that by a hundred people in a several square block area and then we are getting somewhere.

the DC police can deal with this but they have to try harder.

Anonymous said...

I still think you should move out...

Carl said...

that is why it is so important that the DC police put some foot patrols in your area. a foot patrol is just a man or woman or two walking around talking to people. you get to know them by name, they get to know you by name. in the course of normal conversation, they learn what you know and you learn what they need to know.

apathy is easily defeated when you know Tim and Elena would be interested in hearing about something.