Dear PoPville – Anyone Know the Proper Crime Scene Standard Operating Procedures?

Photo by PoPville flickr user philliefan99

Dear PoPville,

Wondered if you knew anything about crime scene standard operating procedures in DC. I live on the 600 block of Lamont St and a crime scene (tape, two police cars) was formed in the alley next to my house. Called the local police station to find out what the situation was, and they said they didn’t know and couldn’t connect me with somebody who would. So I donned my boots and a coat and walked out to ask the officer. He said he couldn’t tell me and that there was nothing to be alarmed about. I’m not particularly alarmed, but this isn’t an everyday occurrence. Has this happened to other readers? Have I not watched enough cop shows? I get the whole ‘move along, nothing to see here’ but when you live next to the thing, it’s not like I can move along anywhere.

I think readers have had the most success finding this info via their MPD listservs.

8 Comment

  • The local “beat cop” is concerned about stepping on his crank and saying something that’ll get him in trouble. You won’t get an answer that day necessarily, but best to ask on the MPD listserv, and usually one of the Lieutenants will answer you.

  • According to the listserve, it looks like there was a sexual assault in the alley last Saturday night.

  • Police at the scene wont tell you anything and in DC the “procedure” is often loose unless they have caught a shooter.

  • My experience is that they won’t tell you anything. Someone died “suspiciously” in the apt building I was subletting in and they wouldnt tell me roommate what was going on.

  • There are lots of ways to find out what’s going on without bothering officers while they are doing their job (even if it looks like they are just standing around). As lots of folks have already suggested, the MPD listserves for each District tend to provide good information. The Twitter feed from MPD and DCAlerts also provide information as does the Twitter feed from the firefighter’s union. You aren’t always going to find out information about all the crime that has occurred/is occurring, but it’s a start. You should also consider attending a meeting of your PSA (police service area). Those are advertised on the MPD listserves. MPD usually attends ANC meetings and if they have information, they can answer your questions.

  • You can speak to or write your district commander or neighborhood lieutenant either through the appropriate listserv or directly. Their information is listed here:

    They are generally very responsive and will give you as much information as they’re able to.

    Generally speaking, I think you can be assured that an officer on the scene would give you any information necessary to your safety, but they are not there to satisfy the curiosity of inquiring neighbors.

  • I had the same experience when the intersection right by my house was blocked off. I asked what was going on and they said they couldn’t say, and I said “Ok – that’s my house – should I be afraid to go inside or should I be running and hiding inside?” and he wouldn’t say. Didn’t really make me feel reassured about their presence in my neighborhood.

  • Oh yeah, I remember that. I was wondering about too.

    Looks like we’re neighbors, by the way.

Comments are closed.