Interested in Joining A Volunteer Patrol Around the Petworth Metro?

A reader is interested in setting up an “orange hat” patrol around the Petworth Metro to try and deter future muggings.

She writes: “I’m getting a little frustrated with the inability of the police to, well, police New Hampshire avenue. A few weeks ago, after lurking through yet another debate on the Petworth mailing list about yet another mugging, I posted about the possibility of starting up an orange hat brigade to walk the Metro-up-New-Hampshire corridor, and got a few
responses but not an overwhelming number. This doesn’t have to be a lifetime committment: it seems like trying
to do this for a month could have real impact.”

If you’d be interested email Lisa at [email protected]

Ed note: I’m not sure if you’ll actually be issued an orange hat but I think it is a great idea.  I would suggest that you try to coordinate with MPD though.

9 Comment

  • I hate to say this, but I’ve come to think of typical orange-hat groups as… well, not useless, but having far too little benefit. Maybe it makes people feel a bit better, I just don’t think it deters anything (maybe for a few minutes, until you disappear around the corner…) unless you really have numbers and walk frequently.

    MPD should do its job. Beyond that, I think being alert, calling 911/311 (as well as 727-1000 for issues of lighting, sanitation, abandoned autos, graffiti…), knowing your neighbors, keeping porch lights on, etc does more good over the long term.

    This is from someone who started a neighborhood patrol around here a few years ago. It was good for bringing neighbors together, and we tried to add value to the process by bringing along the neighborhood services coordinator, walking the streets (and alleys) and writing down all kinds of things that needed fixing, cleaning, hauling away.

    With all that said, I’m not saying don’t do it. In fact, keeping a citizen group within those few concentrated blocks (on a regular basis) could maximize the presence and make a difference. I think it’s a kind of trap to hear about muggings, go home, and pull your blinds a little tighter. I mean everyone should of course do what they do to feel safe, but the paradoxical solution is MORE good people on the street, not fewer. If this is one way to do that, power on.

    But please, no orange hats ;). Let’s find some kind of fresher approach, signalled by a change of headgear :).

  • Also, I don’t know why you never see a police officer (or Metro police) patrolling the Metro area after dark. How many times do we have to say it? Isn’t the need self-evident? How many incidents do there have to be? If patrols have been stepped up THE AVERAGE PERSON CAN’T TELL. It’s getting REALLY frustrating, and I’m about to start naming names for a severe lack of pro-active leadership.

  • One more, FYI – in response to the latest mugging, I did write to Commander Burton and cc’d to a bunch of others including Muriel Bowser and Fenty. Burton’s response:

    “We are aware of the increase in crimes in this area. We have been reviewing the video from the crime CCTV camera at Georgia Avenue and NH Avenue to determine suspects. At this time we have not been able to come up with any suspects. In most of the attacks that we have seen recently multiple suspects assault and rob the victims. We have put additional uniform and plain cloths officers in the area to attempt to locate and arrest suspect. We ask that everyone stay aware of their surrounding and call of they see anything that doesn’t look right.”

  • Captain Poteat’s response included this:

    “We have a Tactical Operation to address the robberies in the community. This past Tuesday we were able to apprehend a suspect who we believe has been committing early morning and late night robbery at the Metro Bus Stops during the past two months. We are working with Metro as well as 4D Detectives and the Vice Unit in regards to the recent robberies.”

  • Thanks for the imput, Bill. I’ve never tried to organize anything like this before, and someone had suggested the orange hat route. I’d be willing to try any approach, really. But I’m not sure that I’m going to get the interest at this point: I’ll wait a bit and see. I really do think a short-term effort could make a difference, if we did it correctly.

  • If the orange hats say “well regulated militia” on them, does the 2nd ammendment apply? just kidding.

  • It can’t be said enough times, MPD needs to stop with the excuses and do their damn job and patrol Petworth.

  • What about the Guardian Angels? Are they in DC or just in NYC?

  • Lisa,

    I’ll send you an email in the next couple of days, but I would definitely be up for participating. I live right across the street from the Metro and am outside walking my dogs quite a bit anyhow. I won’t wear an orange helmut (it clashes with my skin tone) but anything else is fine.

    I’ve not had any problems around the Metro, but I did have a weird incident when I was walking my dogs around the corner of Sweet Mango the night of PoPs party. There was only one other guy on the street and his hands were stuffed up in his jacket. Once I got a few feet behind him, he let his hand drop out with a knife in it. I was a bit unnerved as we were the only two people on the street, but really I think he was just a dumb thug trying to scare me. One of my dogs would have ripped his hand off in about 2 chomps.

    I’d be happy to participate in anything that would clean up that immediate area. It is a bit creepy at night.

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