“I know many of you are concerned with the increase of gun shots in the Petworth community of late. Trust me, I am too.”

mpd

From Ward 4 Council Member Brand Todd’s office in response to “Frustration Mounts as More Shots Fired on Jefferson Street”:

“Neighbors,

I know many of you are concerned with the increase of gun shots in the Petworth community of late. Trust me, I am too. I have been in constant communication with 4th District Commander, Wil Manlapaz, and several PSA Lieutenants to inquire about the most recent incident. While MPD is still investigating, MPD has taken tangible steps to improve the immediate state of safety in the area. You will notice increased patrols in the area, by foot and car.

 

I will continue to work with Fourth District officials: PSA 404 Lt. Shane Lamond, PSA 407 Lt. Anthony Washington, Captain Brian Bray, and Captain Andre Wright to increase their patrols and response times as it relates to preventing further incidents. 4D officers have made multiple arrests and recovered several firearms in this area, and will remain focused on stopping additional activity. In addition, MPD’s Crime Suppression team has executed multiple search warrants in the area with regards to the shooting. Suspects have been identified and arrest warrants obtained. In the coming weeks, I will be conducting a walk-through of the neighborhood with MPD to identify specific ways we can address these public safety concerns, and I will be asking for neighbors to join us and give their input.

In the interim, I ask that you continue to be our eyes and ears. If you see something, say something. Remember to call 9-1-1 immediately to report any suspicious activity. You will notice additional resources in the area and we must all stay vigilant. 
Please don’t hesitate in reaching me directly anytime. You may call or text me on my mobile at 202-316-6001.

Sincerely,

Brandon Todd
Councilmember, Ward 4″

72 Comment

  • Translated for you: “oh sh!t. I was too obvious about the fact I don’t care about crime. Better do a walk-through so people forget about it.”

  • conducting a walk through will not help. Hasn’t helped before, wont help in the present and will do nothing to stop this stuff from happening in the future. We had a walk through with the god damn mayor in the exact same neighborhood last year and nothing changed.

    This message from Todd is a slap in the face to the residents of the neighborhood. Simply mentioning the Lt.’s and Com. names do not make me feel any better that Todd knows what he is doing or has any way of actually throwing his weight around to stop it from happening again.

    • Not a resident of Petworth, but agree with all your comments. I’m not sure the real question is ‘what will help the situation’. I think the question is more around whether current/future leadership will adequately address this challenge over the next 3-5 or 5-10 yrs. If the answer is ‘no’ then it’d be a good idea to move. If the answer is ‘idk…maybe with the next regime’ then it’s still probably a good idea to move and save yourself the frustration….

    • I’m not disagreeing with you at all (walk through don’t have an impact on crime) but at least your council member is acknowledging the problem (although only superficially). I live EOTR in Ward 7 and our council member, Yvette Alexander, hasn’t spoken a word about the rising crime. And the murder rate has tripled in Ward 7, with something like 24 homicides this year (and summer hasn’t really started yet).

      I wish someone could figure out what to do about all the violence in DC. Because obviously noone on the council or MPD has figured it out yet.

      • Very sad/frustrating. You hit the nail on the head – not sure anyone knows how to lead us to a better place wrt DC violence. Wish folks would stop being so frustrated (I empathize…it IS very frustrating) and move to a ‘safer’ area. Even if that means a smaller house/condo/eating ramen, etc…

        • i dont understand what the hell you are talking about.

          I should not be frustrated and move to a safer area? Can I borrow a few hundred thousand dollars then?

          • B/c those are the only two options? Borrow $100-500K or stay? I don’t know your personnel circumstance, but not sure that is correct.

          • I doubt the OP’s personnel situation is that great at the moment if they need to borrow hundreds of thousands of dollars to move. I’d guess they had to at the very least cut ties with the driver, leaving just the nanny and butler to tend to the estate.

        • the problem is the people who live in the areas most effected by crime are the least able to move to safe areas. no amount of cutting back and eating ramen will buy you a house or condo is a good neighborhood in DC if you are not already a 6 figure income household. As an example I’m a mother of 3 with a good job with the city. Our max budget was 250K when we were buying 3 years ago. That would buy us exactly nothing west of the river (i lie, I did look at a 1 bedroom condo in Brightwood that fell within our budget). We could have moved to an outer suburb in MD but I’d give up ‘resident hiring preference’ and would say goodbye to any promotion potential. And their are a lot more people without the privileges and luxuries I have. Moving to a safer area is reserved for a precious few in this town. But for those with the income and job flexibility moving is a valid solution.

          Again, I don’t have any answers for how to fix our crime issues but I sure wish someone on the council and MPD could figure it out.

          • I can appreciate those challenges. When I was young my family was on food stamps, and I’m fortunate enough to not have those constraints now. The 2 primary housing cost drivers I see in the DC Metro area are crime and location. I know a lot of folks who live/commute from Gainesville as they are not willing to accept the crime level their housing price point dictates. They sacrifice time (and money wrt child care) but accept the tradeoff. Over time they look for employment in Ashburn or on the 28 corridor…to get back some of their time. Others move out of the DC area (Charleston, SC seems to be a big one right now).

        • “Wish folks would stop being so frustrated (I empathize…it IS very frustrating) and move to a ‘safer’ area.”
          .
          Don’t all areas in D.C. deserve to be “safe”? If a lot of people who think safety is important decide to leave (say) Ward 7, there will be fewer people left to continue pushing for more police action, better prosecution, etc.

          • Yes – of course everyone deserves to be safe…in DC and otherwise. But if folks don’t have the ability to invest their time to see that to fruition, or don’t have the time to wait for it to improve, or if the headwinds are strong (e.g. – lack of leadership) then they have other options. Waiting/hoping are not effective methods…especially if the headwinds are strong (as I feel they are in this case).

          • Yes. Everyone deserves to live somewhere safe!

          • Erik, that sounds a bit glib to me. Not everyone has the option to move to a safer neighborhood.

          • Glib = insincere and shallow. Yeah, I guess so. Not sure about that one. Either way, think this topic is good ‘debate’.

      • Sorry your CM isnt good either.
        However, saying that B Todd is better than somebody who seems absolutely terrible doesn’t make it better. There shouldn’t be any race to the bottom

        • Speak for yourself. I’m not happy about the crime either, but also question how much Todd or any of us can really effect this. His constituent services and ability to get things done on things that he can actually control has been top notch. Sometimes I don’t know why anyone would want to be an elected official! If it were up to me, I’d just lock all these criminals up and throw away the key.

          • west_egg

            I’m not sure I’d call his constituent services “top notch.” (I used to live in Ward 1 — say what you will about Jim Graham but there was a guy who knew how to get things DONE. He’d respond to emails personally and you could usually measure the city’s response time in hours.)
            .
            I’m now in southern Ward 4 where Todd, the Mayor, our ANC rep and others did a crime walk last winter. It was featured on the news. As part of the story they pointed out a dark alley that neighbors were concerned about, where the street lamps are dim or nonfunctional. Here we are almost summer and wouldn’t you know, it’s still dark back there. “How many CM’s does it take to change a light bulb?”

          • As his constituent, I strongly disagree that his constituent services are “top notch.” No one in his office returns phone calls.

          • I had excellent luck showing up at the CM’s office and asking for help. Got someone immediately and they’re working on it, with multiple emails. Nothing like the personal touch, when asking for aid!

  • Did you call 911?

  • Brandon,
    this is ridiculous.

    Your walkthroughs are the typical politician answer, nothing at all is going to come out of it. It’s like your townhalls or your safety walks or whatever silly excuse of a pretense to care you can come up with.

    I totally understand that this comes at a bad moment, so close to election day but you do not seem to actually care about Ward 4. You got caught red-handed with your absurd tweet and you scramble to show how tough on crime you are. I bet these patrols will magically disappear after mid-june….

  • I honestly think this speaks to a larger problem with DC council members and their softness on crime. From Mendelson to McDuffie and his stupid criminal compensation plan. Until DC voters begin demanding a crackdown on crime and voting in council members who can enact such changes, nothing will change.

    • I agree with this post.

      Crime can be solved when police presence is prevalent. But, the police’s focus has to be on quality of life crime though. If they see trouble on the block, they address it right there and then.

      Instead, you get “bored” police who fill their time harassing the same residents who asked for their presence. For example, you now have U. S. Park Police are pulling over people heading into work on Beach Drive for minor traffic violations.

      But when the police work to address the known trouble in the neighborhood, criminals will avoid being confronted continually, harassment, and future lockup.

      • I love this.

        MPD, stop the criminals!!

        No, no, not THOSE criminals. The other criminals. Can’t you tell?

        • LOL!
          .
          Starbucks Dave sounds like a Beach Drive commuter with an axe to grind.

          • Yep, crack down on crime, but only the crime committed by people who look different/don’t make as much money as Dave.

      • Park Police are not DC police. Park police are concerned with the NPS, DC police are concerned with everything else. So yes, Park police will be pulling over people speeding down Beach Drive (people like me, for example!). That’s their job.

  • You know what Ward 4 needs? More affordable housing.

  • We don’t need your walkthrus, concerns, and platitudes. We need you as an elected member of the Council to enact policies that give MPD the resources, authority, and protection to go after the murderers, rapists, and other violent criminals in this city. Show us you have the stones to protect the peaceful people in in DC even if the other crimial-apologists on the Council reject you

    • This is exactly the problem. Todd is only one vote. These other council members who are truly soft on crime need to hear from people. Duffie, Nadeau, Cheh… No one is asking for human rights to be suspended, but for crying out loud, let’s quit apologizing. These criminals need to be held accountable. Social service programs and hand -holding won’t help with the immediate issues. We need to see some tough tactics by MPD. Get these people off the street! Don’t get me started on prosecutions. One step at a time. Sigh.

  • I want to see him do a walk through by himself at midnight. Then we can talk.

  • jim_ed

    I was going to write another long something or another about how these walks are worthless, etc etc, but instead I’m going to call Councilmember Todd and ask for a meeting to discuss my concerns in person. I suggest other Ward 4 residents who are frustrated with crime do the same.

  • I was outside yesterday around this area for about an hour and saw no police officers. I did, however, see at least one drug deal. I wish at least specifics would be provided: there were previously x number of patrols in the area, now there are Y. Or something like that. The “increased patrols” seems like such vague bs. Also, I’m hoping he meant that response times would decrease, not increase.

  • I’ve actually been pleasantly surprised how tough on crime Brandon Todd has been.

  • A few of us in Ward 4 got together and invited Councilman Todd to meet with us, and discuss crime related issues. It ended up taking a few months to organize the event, and initially Todd’s office made excuse after excuse about how he was busy with community events. We had to note that we are also part of the community, and questioned why our meeting was less important than other community events. That should probably have been an indication about his office’s seriousness on the issue, or at the very least whether they are properly communicating info to him. Either way, we ended up meeting. I’d recommend others do the same.

  • Neighborhood crime is a neighborhood issue. If you are frustrated about crime in your neighborhood, you need to be proactive. Call 911 for all crime, no matter how minor. Get to know your Lieutenant personally. Be in communication with Cmdr. Manlapaz. Reach out to Todd and the Mayor’s office. Commenting on a Popville post is not sufficient.
    .
    My Petworth neighborhood and others have taken all these steps and more over the last two years in response to perceived rising crime rates and are happy with Brandon Todd’s support. Lt. Washington’s PSA has taken action against several nuisance properties, but due to the political risk of that type of action, I believe it requires strong community engagement to get the government to take that step. From speaking with police, patrol officers and their direct supervisors are hampered in their ability to respond to crime due to higher level policies set by the chief and the mayor. Direct your complaints there.

    • So very true. Way way way too many people think that posting an online response to an article or saying something on a listserv is engagement. It’s not. It’s just noise… If there is something going on in your neighborhood that you don’t like: 1. speak with neighbors, 2. get some sort of consensus as to what is going on and ideas for improvement, 3. loop in the ANC and relevant city agencies, 4. work toward a solution.

  • Easy solution… End the obvious drug activity. The places where cops always respond to… Have police do walk throughs 24/7. Fix potholes, clean streets, issue tickets for blighted properties. Sweep alleys, fix street lights, you know… Normal city services. :l

  • How about instead of driving around all day, officers get out of their cars and you know, “walk the beat”. Or at least ride the Segway. The only times I see officers out of their vehicles in Petworth is when they’re picking up food or arresting someone.

    It’s frustrating because I know they have a tough job, but the casual disinterest in situations other than non-drug deal, obvious felony situations and general aloofness the officers show in Petworth is alarming. It’s discomforting to know that most people who live in the neighborhood can point out just about all the drug dens and trap houses, yet they seem to operate with impunity.

    • It’s not just about walking the beat. It’s about f-ing arresting people. Buy busts, jump out squads, whatever the hell it takes to get drugs and guns off the streets.
      .
      I get that the long term solution is education, affordable housing, etc. not throwing people in jail. But social assistance that HAS to be coupled with the clear message that this way of life is not acceptable. At the moment we’re both spending out the ass for affordable housing, and at the same time letting people openly sell drugs and roam the streets with illegal weapons. That is not tenable.

      • This is all over kennedy street. this was my issue when they said they were putting the new shelter in the “safe family environment”. safe for who? lets bring 50 families with children into the “safe” evironment of kennedy street. i don’t trust Todd and i have heard many other neighbors having the same issues. This response by him is tone deaf to the issues. I agree with what others have said, arrest the drug dealers and actually take action.

      • Agree. I’d love to see MPD’s arrest percentages. Seems they rarely every catch the persons responsible. We do too much to allow crime to happen. Why do our police cars need the blue lights to let drug dealers know a cop is coming? Why are jump out squads not acceptable? The criminals know they likely won’t be caught. They even brag to neighbors about it.

      • Agreed.

      • CM Nadeau is completely anti this especially “jump out squads” as she often refers. Todd may feel the same way but not sure. Either way it is BS and they should support “undercover work” which is proven effective in curbing drug activity and violence!

  • Accountering

    I just want to get out in front of this, and tell Brandon Todd, that no, I do not trust you.

  • I stumbled upon an assault/possible murder scene (somebody lost a lot of blood) on my walk early Sunday morning. I followed a trail of blood down Taylor St. NW to the front steps of an apt bldg on 13th and Taylor, where I found a puddle of blood, bloody footprints and a broken knife covered in blood. It seemed odd that the police would not have recovered the weapon clearly used in whatever altercation happened. I called the police, they came a collected some evidence, but i never heard anything else. I think the victim was picked up around midnight Saturday night around 14th and Taylor ST.

    Does anybody know what happened?

  • I live in Petworth, and if there’s one thing I’ve noticed in emailing and calling Todd and his office over the last year is that he actually listens to what his consituents are saying. So I trust that he is taking the crime issue seriously and will focus more of his resources on preventing as much of it as he is able. Was his tweet that led to this letter inappropriate? Maybe. Who knows if he was just trying to get the resident to deal with an immenent or unfolding incident in that moment. But I do NOT understand the outrage in this comment section over the letter posted above. What do you want him to do, remain silent so you all can criticize his silence? The whole city is experiencing a crime surge so I don’t think it’s something unique to Ward 4.

    • i think its more about his previous silence on the issue, as well as the continued issue of crime in the neighborhood. We are no better off this year then last year. We want results. We want to feel like he is invested in a solution. Crime walks are not a solution. Is he that blind to what is happening in his ward that he needs to walk the streets to see it?

      Its political lip service. We demand answers. We demand a proper response. We demand to live in a neighborhood that does not have an issue with gunfire every week. We demand our elected officials be held accountable. It is pretty simple.

      • We deserve to live in a neighborhood that doesn’t have gangs using semiautomatic assault rifles to shoot up the place week after week, that’s for sure! Why is CM Todd not addressing the issue that military assault rifles are being used in these shootings in Petworth?

      • Todd is a part of that, but he can’t solve it alone. MPD needs to seriously step it up. As does the mayor and City Council. What do you expect him to do? Throw on a Batman costumes and deliver vigilante justice one drug peddler at a time? That’s MPD’s job. Todd’s job is to hold MPD accountable and ensure they’d deliver the results (arrests!) that we expect. Easier said than done.

  • Some neighbors and i have been trying to figure out how to elevate the crime issues we have been having. they called in dirt bikes riding on the sidewalks at 1am saturday night down 5th street continuously. They called 911 but they were asked if they wanted to make a “formal complaint”? i am confused and wondering if the stats are not accurate because people aren’t making “formal complaints?” then again i thought calling 911 counted as a complaint. anyone know the differences?

    • Oh, the crime stats in DC are definitely not accurate my friend. MPD added a bunch of new crime categories so it looks like violent crime is going down. It’s a sham. The statistics mean nothing. It’s all how you report it. Or if MPD even reports it. If you want to see the true crime figures, you need to go to the FBI. I’m not sure how to find the arrest percentages which I guarantee are very low.

      • “New” crime categories? The violent crime categories are Homicide, Robbery, Sexual Assault, and Assault with a Dangerous Weapon. Those have been the same categories for years. They’re the same categories the FBI uses nationwide.

  • What I find most frustrating is that even when you reach out to try and find out about CM Todd’s public safety strategy, policy ideas or even ethos on crime or offender behavior; you get stonewalled or boiler plate responses. Ward 4 has only a handful of hot spots that could be systematically addressed through a place based approach that leverages nuisance abatement and the targeting of repeat offenders. These strategies have shown to be effective and with adequate follow up and monitoring you can respond to any displacement effect.

  • Commander Manlazpaz, as well as all of MPD District HQ command are hamstrung by MPD senior leadership. If you ever talk to senior officers or some of the more forthcoming white shirts you’ll realize that they are just as frustrated with their inability to police as we are. Most of this falls squarely on the Chief’s lap. Anything not falling in the Chief’s lap falls to the Mayor. And I’m not just saying that because they are our elected officials. They have made a conscious effort to change the policing landscape here in D.C. and the result has been a steady increase in crime. The fact that Brandon Todd is a rubber stamp for Bowser (and in turn Lanier) means that Ward 4 gets what Bowser gives. An independent Councilperson would put Ward 4, and not our Mayor’s Agenda, first and foremost. What could be done to impact crime? Bring back jump outs, bring back plain clothes officers, bring back vice, offer MPD hiring and retention bonuses, offer MPD officers loan forgiveness to live in D.C., increase manpower during the summertime, roll out the camera rebate effectively and with steady communication, coordinate AHOD with other district and non-district police agencies. The list goes on and on, and could actually be effective if we have politicians who really cared about having an impact on crime.

  • I have been to crime meetings, sent emails to CM Todd’s office, and am tightly knit to my immediate neighborhood and we are vigilant, but I just haven’t seen any meaningful action or change regarding lowering crime from CM Todd’s office. There are known drug houses that everyone can identify on (sadly) numerous corners, yet they keep operating as many other commenters have noted. I understand there are lots of layers of jurisdiction at play (CM, Mayor, Police Chief, MPD, etc.) but lets at least eliminate the low hanging fruit problem areas as a start (eg. I see drug deals going on almost daily at 8:30 am at the building right next to the child care center on Rock Creek Church Road just 100 yards from the metro!)
    I cast my vote this weekend for another candidate for W4.

  • Brandon Todd has done absolutely nothing to stop the spread of violence in Ward 4. That is why we need to vote him out of office. Concern is not good enough. He has not gotten any funding for more police presence. He has not supported crime prevention cameras in public spaces. He only votes to support whatever the mayor wants, which has taken money directly out of Ward 4. I initially voted for Todd because I thought his relationship with the mayor would be an asset to our Ward. But instead, he has sold out Ward 4 for the mayors political expediency. Mayor Bowser pulls money and resources out of our Ward and into her political agenda, and Brandon Todd just sits there in her pocket. GET HIM OUT.

    • We need to get her sell out ass out too as soon as she’s up for re-election. I voted for Catania. He’s apparently an A-hole but one that gets stuff done. I bet things would be a little different had it gone the other way.

    • +1000 His relationship with Bowser has NOT helped our Ward. Look no further than the recently announced funding cuts for renovations to Coolidge H.S. We need someone with ideas, and willingness to engage the rest of the Council to curb this crime crisis.

  • The real reason that nothing’s being done about violent crime? It hasn’t gotten bad enough to keep people from paying the ever-escalating prices for homes in the area. Once it starts to put a dent into revenue streams derived from property taxes, then you’ll see the District take action.

    • Exactly what Philippe said. You’ll see a response as soon as property taxes take a hit or once people start leaving the City due to the crime level. Until then, the most you should expect from Councilman Todd is photo ops with senior citizens and his attendance at ribbon cutting ceremonies.

  • No offense, but YOUR READERS are the new ones to the neighborhood. Kennedy Street, Petworth, Manor Park, and Brightwood residents just moved to this area, and NOW the crime is supposed to go away?

    Going back for generations, the neighbors watched this every day and night, and reported it. The police too simply accepted the risks of allowing this to continue, as long as the violence is contained among criminals (e.g., drug dealers are held up by other known dealers; shooting among known rival groups, etc). This would never happen West of the Park.

    This is not to say that this is the way it HAS to be going forward. If Todd wants crime to stop, he can direct his precinct to handle it aggressively.

  • I caught the tail end of a walk through with Todd last year. He went through an extensive to-do list with this staff and the attending agency staff and MPD of issues that were actionable and needed attention. I was quite impressed, actually – it seemed like a great way to move the ball on small but impactful items that would increase public safety and well-being. And they were all actions well within the purview of those in attendance.
    .
    Unsurprisingly, almost none of those actions have taken place since then. His staff does not acknowledge the existence of such a list, despite Todd publicly referencing it several times since. I think Todd has good instincts, but he’s not always holding his staff or agencies accountable for those instincts (or if he is, it is not apparent).
    .
    CM Todd, if you’re reading this, ask about those lists. Publish them. Make them a public scorecard for your office. Get your constituents to help if need be (we want to!). But don’t assume this first step is going to make anything happen.

  • For all the folks demanding MPD bring back jumpouts, make more arrests, and that we “do something” about crime — Where the heck are you every time the City Council holds a hearing and it’s dominated by advocacy groups and public defense lawyers who complain about “disproportionate arrests” and the “prison pipelines” and the need to focus on “root causes” and not arrests????
    .
    You don’t participate in any Council hearings that focus on crime, and then you’re shocked that all the laws are heavily tilted to protecting criminals?
    .
    Stop complaining and start demanding more from your Councilmembers – including Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and the four at-large Councilmembers. Demand to see what THEIR crime prevention plan is. Ask them what THEIR plan is to recruit and retain MPD officers. Ask them when THEY will do walkthroughs and community meetings to see firsthand the nuisance drug houses.
    .
    Until you folks are willing to actually show up at Council hearings and demand they stop coddling criminals, you’re going to get nothing but boilerplate platitudes. And instead of whining on a blog, SHOW UP at your City Council offices and demand action.

  • This might be one of these situations where the neighbors ban together and post up on the corners with a call to end the violence and maybe generate some media attention. The downside to this exposing yourself to those involved in criminal activity

  • Wayyyyyyy to late. Here is an idea. Take the drug sniffing dogs out for a walk to get a breath of fresh air on Jefferson.

  • My wife and I are moving to Petworth in about a month and this thread has absolutely concerned me! Everytime we’ve been to our new neighborhood its had such a feeling of community and such quiet streets. I knew there were some ongoing issues but not as many as I’ve run across today with related threads / articles. It seems 7th/8th and Jefferson is a huge issue area and that isn’t too far north from us. Should we be concerned? I’d assume most of the time we’ll be walking south towards the metro or the bars on Upshur (via recommendation), but we’ve also heard of some new neat places opening near 5th and Kennedy. The latter would have us walking right through this area of Jefferson. Should we always avoid this stretch of the neighborhood?

    Any tips or advice as to how to make the wife feel most safe in our new neighborhood and what to be aware of? Thanks so much any help.

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