“Note for neighbors in Petworth on break-ins and robberies”

crime solvers

“Dear PoPville,

Note for neighbors in Petworth on break-ins and robberies. My car’s been broken in to twice in the past two weeks (despite nothing being visible/valuable and nothing being taken) The first time the door was jimmied open and glove box, console emptied out. Since there was no visible sign of forced entry dispatch wouldn’t send an officer to take a report. Other cars on the block were also broken in to that day.

Earlier this week while I was out of the country (more on this momentarily) my rear windshield had been smashed out. Chatting with neighbors about my situation I learned smashed windows and “unforced” entry has been a frequent occurrence on the block (500-700 Hamilton NW). Along with the all too often occurrence of gun fire in the area lately, there’s been a very obvious uptick in alley loitering and strange cars crawling though before stopping by one of the problem houses the speeding off. Another neighbor mentioned two armed robberies earlier this week along the Kennedy corridor.

I always call the cops to report things that are out of the norm but officers rarely come through and apparently there’s some kind of disconnect between dispatch and patrol. When my housemate called to report the smashed window dispatch informed her they could not send a patrol because she wasn’t the property owner and that if she moved anything (to, you know, secure my car) they wouldn’t be able to take a report at all. The officer who actually took the report said this was false and also recommended to keep calling in when suspicious activity is taking place. Unfortunately doesn’t really do any good if dispatch won’t send anybody out.

I’d love to see increased patrol in the immediate area, particularly given continued shots around 7th and Jefferson, but also just a reminder to neighbors to continue staying on neighborhood watch and be vigilent.”

23 Comment

  • In addition to being vigilant and reporting suspicious behavior and criminal activity, people need to stop accepting the word of dispatchers and/or patrol officers who say that no report can be taken or nothing can be done in a particular situation. If that happens to you, send an email to the MPD Commander for your area, cc your council person, ANC rep, anyone else in a position to question this. It’s very discomforting to hear reports of criminal activity that appears to not be taken seriously.

    • Oh god. When you are telling people they need to assume 9-1-1 is lying to them you know things are off track.

    • What’s the deal with DC 911 operators? The couple times I’ve called in the last few years, I’ve gotten the most unprofessional, un-poised operators imaginable. Is the city using some sort of independent, third party service? (Like some jurisdictions do with ambulance services) If so, the city needs to look into the way these operators are being trained.

  • This is MPD 4D. Something is off up there in terms of policing and response, not sure what. I would escalate this up MPD ranks, going to your PSA lieutenant, then captain, then Manlapaz, then Lanier herself. They can work with OUC(who dispatches officers) to figure out what the issue is.

    • Many of us have had very similar experiences. MPD and Lanier claim they keep cops in cars so they can respond more quickly. They freely admit they have switched from a more proactive policing strategy to one of react & respond. Is it any wonder that crime is sky rocketing given that response times are so bad or non-existent? This strategy isn’t working. Lanier needs to admit that and get VICE back in the districts and push a renewed focus on proactive policing.

  • Can we just do away with the word “uptick”? I’m just tired of that being the word most often used around Ward 4 messages. Increase, escalating etc. are all better words (and I’m sure there are even better words to use) and I’m sure everyone is tired of hearing the elected members use the word uptick.

  • “Since there was no visible sign of forced entry dispatch wouldn’t send an officer to take a report.”

    This is so wrong of them. Go to your councilmember, ANC, district commander, etc. If ANYTHING was taken, they need to file a report.

    • Sounds like they should have told the caller, “Please come down to the station to file your report.” I think that’s what I’d do if I didn’t have evidence of forced entry (if only to save myself the time waiting for someone to show up and then having to explain a break in without evidence of such)

      • Wouldn’t it be more inconvenient for most people to have to go to the station than to have an officer come to their block and take a report?

  • I go directly to the commanding officers in D-4, starting with Commander Manlapaz.. He is usually responsive. In particular, the alleys seem to be growing as a hub of bad activity. Go directly to the Comdr. This is his job and can be more responsive (sadly) than a dispatcher.

  • In my opinion, it’s time for Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier to replace the 4th District Commander. It’s my understanding the morale is down at 4D under his leadership. Who is the PSA Lt. for that area? Ward 4 Councilman Brandon Todd is an idiot. I would email Mayor Bowser, the City Administrator Rashad Young, and Bowser’s Chief of Staff regarding this matter. Lanier reports directly to the Mayor.

  • It’s because the police are involved and part of the problem. Check out the auto parts store on the corner of Emerson & Georgia Avenue NW. They’re a front for crime and I have heard them talking with officers on the officer’s private cell phone. There is a woman officer on the beat who talks to them regularly from a block away. I’ve heard the conversations. They are why we sold our house and moved 200+ miles away. So sad. The ward 4 cops all know about it and completely ignore reports-even in writing.

    • jim_ed

      The Carquest? I’ve always found it to be a decent parts store with a generous return policy. You wanna elaborate on what criminal enterprise they’re up to?

  • Get rid of Brandon Todd. An empty suit just like the Mayor. Clueless about crime and anything except how to host self-promoting neighborhood barbecues.

    • west_egg

      That’s not a fair statement at all. Borderline libelous.
      .
      I happen to know for a fact that he’s also very good at sending boilerplate responses, as well as pretending his office is good at constituent services.

  • you can report it yourself online at http://mpdc.dc.gov/service/file-police-report-online

    but they still should have come and taken a report, even if they didn’t do it right away. not everyone has a computer and knows how to use it. dispatchers shouldn’t be deciding who gets police service and who doesn’t, though they obviously have a role in prioritizing who gets help first.

    agree with the others that you should escalate it at the Council, MPD, and the Office of Unified Communications (who are the ones who run 311 and 911) if you called one of those numbers.

  • Just had my car rummaged through on Kansas near Shepherd on Tuesday night. Nothing was laying visible and was certain that the doors were locked the night before, so I assume someone’s slim jimming cars (police noted another car was broken into within a block). Glove and cabin were tossed all over the car, but only took a roll of quarters and an older swiss army knife.
    On the discussion of officers and reports, I made one call to 911, asked for police, told them what happened and they sent an officer over to take a report within the hour. Very professional and all that I could have asked for from the police and dispatch.

  • Out of curiosity, are most of the cars being broken into older cars? For example, has anyone had a car broken into that was newer (with alarm blinker) and did not have anything out in the open?

    • Is an alarm blinker a sign of a newer car? My 2003 has one. The alarm would go off if slim-jimmed, but not if unlocked using a cloned clicker, which can easily be created using some radioshack components and online instructions.
      .
      In order to be secure from being opened by a cloned remote, a car needs to implement a rolling code, which probably makes it a relatively high-end car manufactured in the last few years.

  • We had our car stolen from 9th Street just south of Jefferson last night. When we discovered it this morning we were actually able to flag down an MPD officer driving by faster than we could look up the number to call. All the officers were very polite and the response was quick (the one we flagged down happened to be a truancy officer on his way to court, so had to call someone else in). Based on our conversation with 3 officers this morning it seems that there have been an increase of incidents in the surrounding blocks of folks using the jimmy stick or a “cloned clicker” as a previous commenter called it. No evidence at all of a window being broken, but the car is completely gone, so really we have no idea. Car was locked and nothing visible inside, it’s an older model Prius, but they all look the same to me.

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