Petworth – Police Service Area Meeting Tonight (6/28), PSA 404 & 407, 801 Shepherd St., NW at 7 p.m.

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Topic: Petworth – Police Service Area Meeting Tonight (6/28), PSA 404 & 407, 801 Shepherd St., NW at 7 p.m.

Public Safety June 28, 2012 at 9:44 am

Petworth – Police Service Area Meeting Tonight (6/28), PSA 404 & 407, 801 Shepherd St., NW at 7 p.m.


Aggravated by Neighborhood Crime?  Attend your PSA Meeting.
Does everyone know that there is a monthly forum to meet and talk with the police officers and supervisors assigned to your neighborhood?  MPD holds Police Service Area (PSA) meetings pretty much monthly in city neighborhoods.  Unfortunately, crime is a major topic of discussion in PoPville. But, I’ve noticed that these meetings are not well-advertised, unless you’re on the community listserve.  Many meetings are not well-attended, possibly because people don’t know they exist.     
In light of the recent homicide on the 500 block of Crittenden, NW, discussions of increased crew activity, and an increase in property crimes, it’s important for us to be engaged with our community and MPD.  We need to show MPD that, not only will we gripe online about crime, we will show up in person to discuss what’s being done to stop the crime.  Please seriously consider coming to the meetings.  In my experience, they do not last too long and showing up shows that we care.

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Also, if you’re not sure about your PSA, MPD has that info here:


Is this the same as the “joint community meeting” for PSA 404/407 that was announced on the MPD-4d listserv for 7:30pm tonight?  Any confirmation on which time is correct — 7 or 7:30?


That is the same meeting.  It’s at 7:00 pm.  Just confirmed that time with Derek Staten, the MPD 4D Community Outreach Coordinator.

Joseph Martin posted a very thorough and thoughtful summary of this meeting on the Petworth Yahoogroup:
About Thursday’s PSA 404/407 Meeting
    Posted by: “Joseph Martin”
    Date: Sat Jun 30, 2012 7:54 am ((PDT))

About 45 residents showed up for Thursday evening’s PSA 404/407 meeting. Most were there because of concerns related to last Saturday’s early morning murder and gunshots two days before at the same location on the 500 block of Crittenden Street NW. One resident had a question about the 900 block of Quincy Street NW. MPD-4D Inspector Angel Medina chaired the meeting. 

– One area resident mentioned that she knew Antione Bates, the 23-year-old victim, and probably knows the murderer. That resident is dealing with MPD homicide detectives privately. [As an aside, I know of other residents who have privately given MPD valuable information. Thank you.]
– A 5th Street resident asked if there is a connection between incidents that have taken place around 5th and Webster and the incidents on Crittenden Street.
– Another resident asked if there is a connection between the series of murders that have occurred in the past few years in the general Sherman Circle vicinity, on 8th and 9th Streets NW behind Sherman Circle.
– As happens at these meetings, residents expressed considerable frustration over having called 911 to report an array of incidents, feeling there is not much of a response from officialdom.
– A block resident complained that “nothing ever changes, nothing will ever change” (something to that extent) and expressed resentment towards newer residents who are working for safer neighborhoods and expect change. 
– That woman came out with the least constructive comment made at the meeting: “Why don’t you go back to where you came from!” 
– One of the block residents mentioned that he had come to last month’s PSA meeting with shell casings found near Sherman Circle essentially effectively stating “it was a matter of time before there’s another murder.” As we know, that “matter of time” was about three weeks from the last PSA 404/407 meeting.
– MPD Inspector Angel Medina said MPD has all the resources and officers MPD needs. This came in response to a question from SMD 4C09 Commissioner Zach Hartman. [The 500 block of Crittenden is in Zach’s single-member district.]  ANC 4C Chair/Commissioner Joe Vaughan also spoke.

Brief Analysis & Comments:
– With only MPD representing DC agency [paid] officialdom,* it started to feel like MPD was being held responsible by some residents. 
– The troubles on the 500 block of Crittenden are not simply a law enforcement matter. 
– The ideal would have been to have multiple agencies represented that deal with the neighborhood’s most challenged families to say (a) what they are doing to address the problems on the 500 block of Crittenden and elsewhere in Petworth and (b) come up with an action plan / next steps and (c) set-up a follow-up meeting to inform the neighborhood what is being done while respecting the privacy of those families.
– Agency reps owe it to the block residents to explain how a problem house could be on their radar screen for seven years and, to some, noting appears to have changed.
– MPD officers sent out to hold a meeting like that need some guidance in chairing a meeting. Rules of discussion and conduct should be stated at the beginning of the meeting and repeated later for those who arrive late: Speak when called on, no need for raised voices, no need to verbally attack a neighbor. [There was only one case of a neighbor attacking a neighbor.]
– A printed agenda would have helped and might have provided the focus needed.
– The meeting drifted in focus. People drifted out consequently.
– If I had never been to a neighborhood crime/PSA meeting of any sort and this was my first exposure, I would not bother coming back. There was not a sense of this being a meeting that would resolve a problem or explain a structure for resolving a problem or inform residents of how this would be done (Mayor’s office responsibility at the cabinet or city administrator level, i.e. someone with genuine weight and power who has the Mayor’s ear). 
– A few residents told me they were extremely disappointed.
– Should we even expect PSA meetings to be there for problem-solving? 

Next steps & related thoughts:
– Since the Mayor controls the agencies that deal with issues like this, genuine, problem-solving leadership needs to come from the Mayor’s office coupled with solid, substantive communications on a regular basis with residents. 
– There may be a helpful role of the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (4C and 4D) to structure in a segment of their monthly meetings to provide substantive, brief updates on these specific issues. This comes down to work. Is there anyone in Petworth who might like to take on that role as an agency liaison between the ANCs and city agencies specifically with regard to problem-solving? (Maybe one of the current commissioners has time, but this is real work, and it seems everyone is slammed.)
– When I am at meetings like this, I keep coming back to a comment then Fenty Administration City Administrator Dan Tangherlini said in a late 2007 or early 2008 agency and Mayor’s staff meeting, I am paraphrasing: “There are 75 families in this city responsible for 90% of the crime. We know who they are.” He spoke of the plan to use all available resources to help those families. What happened?
– Where are the pastors? How many churches are there in Petworth? Where is the clergy? Is there a role here for the clergy? Roman Catholic Cardinal Wuerl probably hears gunfire on a regular basis from his comfortable home tucked in off of Harewood Road NE across N. Capitol from Petworth. Might be time to contact the Nuns on the Bus and ask for their suggestions.
– Is there a need for a more active role for Adult Protective Services in this case and other cases in the neighborhood where there may be well-meaning moms or grandparents living in a home where they may be getting abused in one form or another by an aggressive generation of young’ns, some who have ended up as career-criminals, a rap sheet a mile long, gun-totin’ and out of control?

Your thoughtful response?

*ANC commissioners are unpaid.

Joseph Martin

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