by May 29, 2013 at 4:00 pm 0

From Cody Telep. Follow him on Twitter @codywt, email him at cody[AT]


Smartphones and portable electronic devices are always targeted. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Cathy Lanier appeared on the TODAY Show last Thursday expressing frustration with the rise in ATMs that allow customers to trade in and recycle used cell phones and other electronics for cash on the spot.

ecoATM is the San Diego-based company that produces the machines and places them in malls and shopping centers across the country. Lanier believes that ecoATMs provide an extra incentive to potential robbers, because the machines offer a quick and easy way to trade in stolen phones for cash.

The company disagrees, arguing that extensive security measures make it difficult to trade in stolen phones. Customers using the machines must be 18-years-old and provide a valid photo identification card that is compared in real-time to a photo taken by the machine. They must also provide a thumbprint.

ecoATM records the serial number of each phone collected and stores them for at least 30 days after collection. Additionally, the company announced Wednesday the creation of an eight-member Law Enforcement Advisory Board, who will provide recommendations on how ecoATM can best partner with police agencies and ensure the machines are not used for reselling stolen goods.

Lanier first argued against the use of ecoATMs on WTOP in February, stating that up to 30 to 35 percent of the phones recycled at ecoATMs are stolen. The company disputes these figures, noting on their website that fewer than five out of every 10,000 phones recycled are stolen.

Lanier said Thursday that MPD believes at least 200 phones stolen in the District have turned up in suburban locations of the machines and that MPD has already made six arrests in these cases. She did commend the company for being very cooperative in law enforcement investigations when a phone believed to be stolen is found deposited in the ATM.

ecoATM currently does not have any machines inside the District, and has not announced any plans to establish a D.C. location. The company formerly operated a machine in Temple Hills, MD at Iverson Mall, but the machine was removed because of a licensing issue. There also was previously a machine in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City that no longer appears on the company’s list of locations.

While there are still a number of ecoATMs in the D.C. metropolitan area, the remaining current locations would not be particularly convenient for District robbers. The closest ATMs are in Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax, Virginia; St. Charles Towne Center in Waldorf, Maryland; and Potomac Mills in Woodbridge, Virginia.

If your smartphone is lost or stolen, you can have the device remotely disabled by the provider to make it more difficult for the phone to be reused or resold. More information is available from MPD’s “Brick It!” website (DC Announces Initiative Encouraging Victims to Disable Stolen Phones).

Get an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories or subscribe to Borderstan’s daily email newsletter.

by July 12, 2012 at 8:00 am 1,951 0

From Alden Leonard. Contact him at alden[AT] and follow him @aldenleonard on Twitter.

"Chief Lanier"

MPD Chief Cathy Lanier  is getting attention for new policing methods. (Luis Gomez Photos, file photo)

DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier is the cover girl for Governing magazine for a story in which the publication highlights Lanier’s policing strategy. They say that many claim some  of her methods could change the District and the nation.

Lanier has made a name for herself on the national stage since being unexpectedly picked by former Mayor Adrian Fenty in 2005. By diverging from DC’s zero-tolerance crime policies, which were fashioned after New York’s hard-line crackdown on crime in the early 90’s, Lanier has eased tensions between high-crime neighborhoods and the police. This, Lanier says, is the key to winning the District’s long-term war on crime.

The article examines Lanier’s unusual path to the top, as well as how far the District and its police forces have come since she joined the force. There’s a good chance that if they haven’t already, Lanier’s policies will soon influence the national debate on crime. This makes her story one worth knowing.

Get an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories.

by March 28, 2012 at 8:00 am 1,633 1 Comment

From Alden Leonard. Contact him at alden[AT] and follow him @aldenleonard on Twitter.

Mayor Vincent Gray and Police Chief Cathy Lanier announced Monday the arrest of a suspect in the March 11 shooting at the Columbia Heights IHOP. LaShawn Carson, a 27-year-old woman, has been charged with aggravated assault while armed.

"Borderstan" "IHOP"

Recent anti-gay violence led to a march from Columbia Heights to Dupont on Tuesday, March 20. (Luis Gomez Photos)

“I am pleased and relieved to announce that a suspect in this dastardly crime has been arrested,” Gray said in a statement.

The incident, which has been labeled an anti-gay hate crime under DC law, sparked a public outcry by community leaders and advocates, occurring in a series of of violence perpetrated on LGBT individuals.

In addition to the IHOP incident a gay man was badly beaten a few days later at the corner of Irving Street and Georgia Avenue NW, suffering serious injuries to his face and jaw.

On Tuesday, March 20, in an effort to raise awareness about violence towards the LGBT community, more than 500 people gathered at the IHOP at 14th and Irving Streets NW to march silently from Columbia Heights to Dupont Circle, passing the site of the assault at Irving and Georgia. The march was organized on Facebook by friends of the victims, Silent March for Victims of GLBT Violence.

The victim of the March 11 attack, who was hospitalized for a gunshot wound to his liver, is out of the hospital. The man who was robbed and beaten at Irving and Georgia Avenue NW has also been released from hospital.

Like reading Borderstan’s Crime stories? Get an RSS Feed for the Crime Section, or an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories.

Related Posts

by March 26, 2012 at 1:00 pm 2,065 1 Comment

From Alden Leonard. Contact him at alden[AT] and follow him @aldenleonard on Twitter.

The Washington Business Journal reports that D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier is putting wireless companies to shame for a greedy practice impacting the safety of DC citizens. (See Lanier Joins Effort to Stem Smartphone Thefts; Tech Component Vital from February 16.)


Smartphones and portable electronic devices are targeted by robbers in street crimes. (Luis Gomez Photos)

By refusing to use technology that permanently deactivates a stolen smartphone, the industry puts profit over safety, Lanier said. The Police Chief explained how this practice, a source of revenue for wireless carriers, gives thieves continued incentive to steal smartphones.

Lanier’s comments, given Tuesday on NBC’s Today Show, come amidst a spike in smartphone robberies in the District and a Police initiative to combat the trend.

According to Dcist, “Last week, D.C. police announced the arrest of 16 people associated with 13 businesses that were peddling the stolen phones.”

Like reading Borderstan’s Crime stories? Get an RSS Feed for the Crime Section, or an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories. 

Related Posts

by March 21, 2009 at 10:14 pm 2,529 2 Comments

The DC City Council Judiciary Committee held a public hearing Wednesday on two bills: the “Omnibus Anti-Crime Amendment Act of 2009” and the “Public Safety and Justice Amendments Act of 2009.” (Read Feb. 22 Borderstan posting on crime bill.)

According to the City Desk blog over at the Washington City Paper Web site, the following information about DC gangs came out in the supportive testimony of D.C. Attorney General Peter J. Nickles and MPD Chief of Police Cathy L. Lanier:


by February 21, 2009 at 9:42 am 1,460 0

The following announcement was made by MPD Chief of Police Cathy L. Lanier:

It is with great pleasure and appreciation that I announce the formal promotions of Acting Commander Matthew Klein to Commander of the Second District, Acting Commander Rodney Parks to Commander, and Acting Assistant Chief Michael Anzallo to Assistant Chief.


by January 6, 2009 at 6:47 am 1,757 2 Comments


The Metropolitan Police Department has seven districts citywide. Borderstan is divided between the 2nd District (PSA 208) and the 3rd District (PSA 307).

Borderstanians: This message from MPD Chief of Police Cathy Lanier was posted on Yahoo! Groups on Sunday night, January 4. Chief Lanier provides some interesting, helpful statistics on D.C. crime–and she has some good news.

Happy New Years, everyone. Below some facts on where we ended our year with the help of our committed community members. We ended the year with huge victories on crime:

  • Violent crime down 5% citywide.
  • Biggest crime reduction citywide: MPD’s Fifth District.
  • All gun crimes were down by double digits:
    • Robberies with guns down 12%.
    • Assaults with guns down 14%.


by August 25, 2008 at 1:10 pm 1,200 0

The Washington Post Magazine ran a feature story on D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier yesterday.

POLICE CHIEF CATHY LANIER CUTS A FORMIDABLE FIGURE as she strides, long-legged, in front of an outdoor lineup of 125 khaki-clad D.C. police recruits standing at attention on a closed-off street in the Langston Terrace neighborhood in Northeast Washington. Nearly 6 feet tall and a fit 160 pounds, Lanier is wearing a blue jacket with four gold stars on each shoulder and shiny black patent-leather boots. Her dyed blond hair spills out of her dark blue police cap. Along with the recruits and more than 150 blue-clad officers, she has mustered nearly 300 of her forces to this crime-ridden area for another All Hands on Deck, a controversial innovation that sends hundreds of cops walking around their beats to meet citizens informally. The goal is to talk about neighborhood problems and to show that the Metropolitan Police Department is out to serve people, not just make arrests — although the weekend exercises usually yield at least a few busts.

Read full article.


Subscribe to our mailing list