New police district and police service area (PSA) boundaries are going into effect January 1 as part of a plan to “improve the delivery of police services in the District of Columbia” (see Chief Cathy Lanier’s presentation on the 2011 Police Boundary Realignment Plan).
As previously reported, the boundary shifts will bring significant changes for some parts of Borderstan (Police Districts and PSAs Changing in Borderstan Area; Police District Boundary Realignment to Affect Dupont Area).
New PSA Boundaries
PSA 301. Currently, the Borderstan area is largely located within PSAs 305 (U Street) and 307 (Logan) in the Third District, and PSA 208 (Dupont) in the Second District (a very small part of Borderstan is also in PSA 308 (Convention Center). Starting January 1, PSA 301 will also shift to the Borderstan area, incorporating chunks of PSAs 208, 305 and 307. (PSA 301 in its current form is in the northern part of the Third District in an area that is shifting to the Fourth District.) PSA 301 will run from Q Street NW up to Florida Avenue NW/W Street NW on the north, and from 14th Street NW to 18th Street NW.
PSA 305. PSA 305 will shrink significantly in size, and will now fall almost entirely within Borderstan’s boundaries, going from Georgia Avenue NW/7th Street NW to 14th Street NW and from S Street NW up to Florida Avenue NW/Barry Place NW. Currently PSA 305 also includes neighborhoods surrounding Howard University, which will now fall in a newly created PSA 306.
PSA 307. PSA 307, the Logan Circle PSA, loses territory west of 14th Street NW — some going to PSA 301 and some to PSA 208. However, under the new boundaries, all addresses on the west side of 14th Street in the current 208 will remain in 208.
PSA 208. The new PSA 208 will also be much smaller, as the new boundary plan eliminates “super PSAs” including the current 208 that tend to be the largest in each district. Part of this size reduction will come from the changes to PSA 301, which will cover territory that is currently largely in PSA 208. PSA 208 will, however, take over one area currently in the Third District as the boundary between PSA 208 and PSA 307 is moving from 15th Street to 14th Street.
Distribution of Workload for MPD
The boundary changes are designed to more equally divide the workload between the seven districts in the city. Because of population shifts and increases since the last major realignment took place in 2004, some districts in the city were handling a disproportionate share of crime incidents and calls for service. Some of these population increases were concentrated in the Borderstan area (see Census Frenzy: Ward 2 Population up 16%, Ward 1 up 4%).
The Third District, for example, currently handles 16.7% of crime incidents based on data presented by Chief Lanier in July, which is the greatest proportion in the city. Year to date crime data suggest this proportion may have even increased. The Third District is responsible for 18.5% of the city’s Part I incidents for 2011 (as of December 18).
Under the realignment plan, the Third District’s share would drop to 14.7%, which is closer to the 14.3% of crime incidents each district would handle if the workload was equally distributed among the seven districts.
Third District Commander Jacob Kishter expressed his excitement about the redistricting plan. “We look forward to providing improved police services to the community and building on our partnerships.”
ANC Commissioner Matt Raymond (ANC 2F-04), who represents an area in PSA 307, agreed that more evenly distributing the work of the MPD is important, but recommended that future realignment efforts better coincide with the political redistricting that occurs for other DC government boundaries (e.g. wards, ANCs) every 10 years as a result of the census, since both processes are based on changes in population. “This would provide greater continuity for public safety within neighborhoods and better coordination between police and elected officials.”
In the Second District, the significant decline in the size of PSA 208 will also, not surprisingly, decrease the proportion of crimes and calls handled in the PSA. The new boundaries will decrease the percentage of crime incidents in the Second District within PSA 208 from 37.01% to 22.21%.
While the shifts in district and PSA boundaries will more evenly distribute the police workload, Rob Halligan, who runs the Dupont Public Safety Committee, pointed out that the boundary changes “will require lots of work building new communications between MPD and the citizens.”