Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd recently put out a letter addressing serious public safety problems in the area surrounding 5th and Kennedy streets in his ward alongside measures being taken to solve the problem.
“As you may be aware,” he wrote, “our community has recently experienced brazen incidents of gun violence that have left residents afraid to walk the streets of their own neighborhood.”
While the area has had a 73% reduction in violent crime compared with last year, his letter stated, “We undoubtedly have considerable work left to do.”
Todd wrote that he has talked with Mayor Muriel Bowser, the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety, and Police Chief Peter Newsham on a sustained basis, and that as a result he is optimistic that “a three-pronged comprehensive strategy will be implemented to improve public safety.”
First, the Metropolitan Police Department will continue to patrol around the clock, seven days a week, near 5th and Kennedy. Officers will be in cars, on foot, and on mountain bikes. The department has also stationed plain clothed drug and gun units, as well as officers from the Narcotics and Special Investigations Division in the area.
The Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement will “significantly expand the number of violence intervention workers,” Todd’s letter stated. They will be permanently based around Jefferson, Kennedy, and Longfellow streets and are now on site. The office is working with Collaborative Solutions for Communities on the project. They plan to hire and train local residents “to serve as community outreach workers that are solely focused on this area.”
The District government is coordinating “multiagency enforcement sweeps by a number of our regulatory agencies” to ensure businesses are in complete compliance with zoning, license, health, litter prevention, and liquor license laws. Enforcement of code violations will be stepped up and. when necessary, the companies not in compliance will be referred to the Office of the Attorney General.
Todd’s letter also asked local residents to call 911 “whenever you see anything remotely suspicious,” pointing out that local residents “serve as eyes and ears on the ground.
He also encouraged them to participate in the Private Security Camera Rebate Program, which offers up to a $500 rebate to homeowners and a $750 rebate for commercial and religious institutions. The program, he reminded residents, “helps deter crime and assists law enforcement with investigations.” People with questions about the rebates can call 202-727-5124 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.