ANC Wrap-up: Crime and Punishment
In addition to the regular appearance of MPD’s Lt. John Hedgecock to discuss the crime statistics of the area, Captain Jeffrey Herold came to address the events of the night of October 31. According to Herold, Halloween in Georgetown this year brought an increase in roving bands of people looking for trouble.
Herold mainly addressed the shooting at 28th and M on Halloween. Althought it is an ongoing investigation, Herold said that the victim is at George Washington University Hospital and in critical condition. He also noted that it is unlikely that the shots, as suggested by some reports, came from a passing truck—instead, the shooter was likely a pedestrian. MPD does not know at this time the relationship between the victim and the shooter or the shooter’s identity.
Herold also noted that, although MPD had an increased presense in Georgetown that night, they were not anticipating the difficulties they had with crowd control. Interestingly enough, Herold reported that the usual trouble spots for Halloween, U and 18th Streets, were quieter than normal.
In addition to the shooting, MPD made five arrests that night for robberies and recovered three weapons, including a sawed-off shotgun at the 1200 block of Wisconsin.
[Note: Vox has received multiple reports of an armed mugging that occurred on Halloween outside the front gates that resulted in the theft of a woman’s laptop, phone, and wallet. A Department of Public Safety officer was called and chased after the perpetrator, but did not catch him. There was no public safety alert.]
Following Capt. Herold, Lt. Hedgecock gave his monthly crime report. With the execption of Halloween, crime was down 23% last month. The most popular crime was residential burluraries, and Hedgecock reminded students to lock their doors and windows.
On the punishment side of the justice system, both Trena Carrington, Assistant US Attorney, Second District Community prosecutor, and Ronald Machen Jr., United States Attorney for the District of Columbia,were in attendance.
Carrington came to introduce herself and her department to the ANC. Community Prosecutors were created to simplify the procedings of the US Attorney General’s Office, which handles both federal and local offenses. Current Attorney General Eric Holder created the Community Prosecutors for each of the seven distrcits to engage with the community in a proactive fashion. The Community Prosecutor’s job is two-fold: To act as a screener, meaning to look over every local case involving public safety, and to lead programs to prevent crimes, like school programs and community impact statemetns.
Ronald Machen, US Attorney for D.C. came to speak to community members about how they can engage in crime prevention. He encouraged the room to call Trena’s office to report suspicious activities, even if no one was harmed.
The 7-Eleven on P street is looking to expand into the vacant space next door. Since the space was already zoned for commercial use, 7-Eleven, which has been there since 1964, came before ANC2E as a courtesy to solicit feedback on their plans (mainly on the color of their awning). The convenience store also wanted to switch its main entrance to the door of the adjacent space just off P Street.
The residents of the surrounding streets had three objections to the plans. First, they thought that 7-Eleven should keep the main entrance on P Street. They also thought the restaurant should use blinds to reduce the amount of light sent outside at night, and were worried that an expanded store would attract crowds from the nearby Wisconsin Avenue.
Commissioner Tom Birch told the representatives that if they keep their renovations low-key, “we will flock to your store.” He then sent both 7-Eleven representatives and the neighbors into the hall to discuss their problems.
In October, the District Department of Transportation announced and implemented a reduction in Circulator stops in Georgetown, and residents did not respond well. Commissioner Ron Lewis summarized the community’s points nicely: People like having more stops and generally wait for the Circulator at non-existent stops anyway, DDOT admitted that the reduction had negligible benefits, and Georgetown is a destination, which means that more people will be getting on and off the Circulator there.
On the flip side, one resident called for an even further reduction of stops in order to speed up the bus service.