Examiner Reports on “Transit Stop Safety Zone”


The Examiner’s Michael Neibauer reports, D.C. Council proposes transit stop ‘safety zone’:

“Citing rising crime in and around District transit stops, D.C. Council members have proposed a new 50-foot “safety zone” where virtually any crime committed would carry extra jail time and civil penalties.

The measure seeks to deter crimes “where we know people are proven to be targets,” said Ward 5 Councilman Harry Thomas Jr., who co-introduced the bill Tuesday with at-large Councilman Michael Brown. Criminals “prey on these persons who go back and forth using our public transportation system,” he said.”

Think this would help deter crime?

18 Comment

  • Any chance it can increase 50 feet every month, until we’ve got the whole District in the zone?

    Really 50 feet? How do these people get elected? Does every officer have to carry a tape measure around on his hip? How about within sight of the transit stop? What is the perimeter of the Drug Free School Zone? I would think it would be at least the same distance. Wow, the DC Council is tough a crime!

  • I’ve got an idea, why not just enforce the criminal laws we have. The city is such a joke, if some little punk kid pulls a gun, he gets a slap on the wrist. Now if he does it within 50 feet of bustops, he get 1.5 slaps on the wrist, that’ll show em.

  • I think this is start to target trouble “hot spots”. But 50 feet — come on! So what — if I am 53 feet away from the zone, can someone attack me and get a lighter punishment because of that? They need to target many blocks within an area, especially the know drug and gang areas.

  • This is absurd. There is one high profile incident of someone getting shot while boarding a bus and now we get a “bus stop zone”? This is ridiculous. Anonymous @ 4:52 has the right idea, let’s enforce the laws we have.

    I also potentially see this provision being used to give drug dealers and homeless persons who may commit minor crimes (disturbing the peace, etc) longer jail sentences. Depending on how you fall on the spectrum of the prosecutorial powers debate, you may find this either abhorrent or beneficial.

  • Exactly, Spirit, to your second paragraph, while those that commit violent, serious crimes are not likely to be dissuaded and deterred by the threat of an extra year or two of jail time.

  • Though let’s not forget that many homeless citizens would not be opposed to longer sentences during certain times of the year (“three hots and a cot,” as it were).

  • How about doing something about the root cause of the kids in this town and their love of the thug ways and gunplay. Get at them young and show them they are important and don’t want to miss that unknown future bus by doing things they have no reason to be involved with now. Great discussion last night with guy from suitland who is trying to make a difference after spending 8 years, 16 with a gun.

    I’d say this is good, as would some guaranteed safe route home volunteer officers to escort those in need, and if you’re going to use the stick to make folks change their ways, better would be major new sentencing changes for any juvenile gun crime in DC, or just about any violent crime for that matter, and some more effective prosecution overall.

  • Since this likely won’t apply to juveniles it will pretty much be useless.

  • The US has 5% of the world’s population, and 25% of its prisoners. One out of 31 American adults is in jail, prison, or supervised release. America has an incarceration rate 5 to 10 times higher than other western democracies.

    Clearly, we need tougher laws and longer prison sentences.

  • Dear Buck –
    Most other nations do not have the endemic underclass that the US has. If we have to incarcerate 5% or 10% or 20% of the nation’s population in order to leave the rest in safety, then we should do it. I have no problem with that.

  • FAIL! small minds – small thoughts. we all need to elect council folks with a bit of vision and… oh, yeah… intelligence!

    vote these idiots out of office. they prey on the ignorant voters and deliver.. well.. not much.

    seriously. get ’em OUT!

  • Rats!!! I was all set to commit some crimes at a bus stop tomorrow, but now that I know they’re going to give me 90 days instead of 60, I don’t think it’s worth it. First schools, now public transit. It looks like I’ll have to start committing my crimes in the un-gentrified ‘hood, since I know nobody cares what happens there!

  • @brookiedc: i call bullshit. ‘nobody cares what happens there’. frankly i don’t care about ANY ‘hood that’s not mine (except in the abstract and how it affects my ‘hood indirectly).

    if the other ‘hood denizens (gentrified or otherwise) don’t have the motivation to do something – even if that is empty comments on a neighborhood blog – than screw them.

    I’m not racist or elitist enough to believe that ‘non-gentrified’ folks are uncapable of identifing problems and taking action in the same way that “we” are.

    all these types of comments like yours do is create a false sense of difference between people. it implies and assumes a superiorty in a ‘gentrified’ group.

  • I mostly agree with you, ballslightning. My comment, obviously cynical, is more of a lament that harsher sentencing guidelines are not effective deterrents. Just like capital punishment. It seems like a waste of resources that the city council is focusing on an issue in this way.

    The comment about the “un-gentrified ‘hood” was also of a similar vein, in that there ARE differences between neighborhoods and their residents. I certainly don’t have any sense of superiority, though I’m sure some do. In my neighborhood (MtP), the idea of reporting a crime is second nature. In others, as has been discussed many many times on this blog, reporting a crime can have serious consequences (snitching). I’m fortunate that I live in a neighborhood where it isn’t an issue, and I do care that there are neighborhoods near me where it is.

  • Yeah, I don’t really think setting up zones like that will do any good. Nobody is going to think about that when they commit the crime near a Metro. Unless the District passed something where it means the death chair…nothing else would be steep enough to make someone go “Oh! Hold up, man. That’s in the Metro Zone. We’ll have to wait and get ’em later…”

    Better city officials won’t do the trick either. I highly doubt anyone not elected in the last few runs has a better plan to make the city safer. And the ones doing all the safe work (read: cops) are doing what they can, but they don’t have any sure way to keep crime from happening.

    Tougher prison sentences and the like, are a temporary fix. And the longer a citizen spends incarcerated, the less chance they really have to actually turn their life around. Finding Jesus and turning away from crime isn’t that often a reality or what have you. You go in, you come out, you’re still in the same status you were in before.

    Gentrification to kick all the low-income away…etc etc etc.

    All of these things are steps. Baby steps. They’re all okay, but none of them are the perfect plan to make crime go down. Crime won’t go down. There are far too many humans living in close proximity for that to happen. It will never happen. Ever.

    But like Jeeze says, work on the root of the problem. The kids. Add that to your baby steps and maybe help lessen the amount of poor criminals taking on a life of crime. But it’s not going to solve the problem. It will never go away. You just have to find ways to give humans better options than crime.

  • people!

    This has NOTHING to do with preventing crime, it’s all about increasing the penalties so that these permanently lenient judges will reduce someones sentence, not from 3 years to 3 months but from 6 years to 6 months.

    The judges will find a way not to incarcerate someone in the district.

    Increasing the potential jail time for a crime will mean that the lenient judges will knock time off that or the DA will plea bargain the charge from 5 years to 1 year.

    This is a very good thing and you all are not looking at it logically.

  • I think the law would actually be good. It’s similar to the drug free zone enhancements around schools. If a criminal is indicted for a crime with an punichment enhancement, he has more of an incentive to plead guilty. Also, many robberies victims are individuals leaving the metro. This law would dissuade those attacks.

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