Borderstanians: The following recap of the November 13 Borderstan Neighbors public safety meeting was written by Jack Jacobson who moderated the meeting. He is the commissioner for ANC 2B-04, which represents a large chunk of West Borderstan. Jacobson assists Borderstan Neighbors, working with residents, police and city officials. – Matt
On Thursday, November 13, about 35 residents and community leaders gathered at the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church to follow up on an August 6 meeting about ongoing and growing crime in the Borderstan neighborhood. Ward 2 Council member Jack Evans participated in the meeting as well (Borderstan Neighbors thank his staff for helping plan the meeting.)
The meeting was called to note progress on four main issues that the community requested at the August 6 meeting:
- Commitment from MPD for coordinated, regular, permanent Borderstan patrols on both the Police Service Area (PSA) 307 (East Borderstan) and PSA 208 (West Borderstan) sides of the border.
- Stepped up drug enforcement efforts in the entire Borderstan area, to include vice operations and plainclothes officers on an ongoing basis.
- To hold owners and management of the buildings on the 1400 block of R Street accountable for enforcement of laws and rules of Section 8 housing.
- Increased and institutionalized communication and coordination of initiatives between PSA 208 and 307.
It was obvious that there is still much work to be done by MPD and city officials to bring down crime in the neighborhood, and the community needs to continue to apply pressure to ensure that our repeated requests for action are answered.
Patrols. PSA 208 has kept routine patrols in the area, and has in face increased police presence in the Borderstan neighborhood. There are now four officers from PSA 208 assigned either full- or part-time to Borderstan. On the PSA 307 side, the Third District had assigned no permanent full or part time officers to Borderstan, though we were assured that several officers do patrol the neighborhood, none are dedicated to Borderstan.
Special Units. There have been several vice and crime suppression unit operations in Borderstan by both PSAs 208 and 307. They have achieved some degree of success, and we encouraged them to continue and for MPD to relay successes to us.
1400 R Street. The buildings on the 1400-block of R Street NW continue to be a source of crime in the area. The city has taken no action, and there seems to be no desire to address the problem forcefully, either on the part of city leadership or MPD. As one way to begin dealing with the problem, ANC Commissioner Jack Jacobson requested that MPD send information to Borderstan when criminals who live on the 1400-block of R Street NW are sentenced, so that residents could submit Victim Impact Statements to judges hearing those cases. This is one way to attack crime that the community can be involved with, and more information about that will be forthcoming on Borderstan.com.
Communication. Both the Second and Third District leadership at MPD admitted that they have not institutionalized communications between PSAs 208 and 307. Inspector Klein from the Secondd District gave his word that he would work to make these communications more routine and effective.
Moving Forward. There is obviously much work to be done, and as a community, we need to keep pressure on MPD and our elected officials to attack crime in our neighborhood and to forge better community partnerships and communications between the PSAs and community members.
Action Item: Residents Can Testify on D.C. Crime Bill
Councilmember Jack Evans invited Borderstan representatives to testify at a December 5 roundtable on the Omnibus Crime Bill ( “Omnibus Anti-Crime Amendment Act of 2008”, Bill 17-951). The roundtable will be at 12:00 pm in the 5th Floor Council Chambers; participants can contact Heidi Tseu at 202-724-8038 or at [email protected] to request to testify. If you are unable to attend but would like to submit testimony, please email testimony to Tseu and to [email protected] so we can ensure that she receives it.
Borderstan Neighbors public safety meetings will need to continue in order to achieve success in our neighborhood. Borderstan is committed to holding our politicians and our police force accountable and will continue to press for positive action to bring down crime. Please check back for additional updates.
Holiday Season: Be Extra Careful
In the meantime, the holiday season always brings an upsurge in crime. Please be wary of holiday scams, and make sure you keep your home and car secure at all times. And most of all, help your neighbor by reporting suspicious activities and crimes in the neighborhood. It’s better to be safe then sorry.