“It’s only gotten worse since.” ANC Rep Calls on the Mayor to Implement a 10 Point Crime Plan

by Prince Of Petworth August 17, 2015 at 9:50 am 137 Comments

Bullet hole from 3601 Georgia Ave, NW taken in 2012

From an email:

“Mayor Muriel Bowser’s failure to protect the citizens of the District of Columbia continues. Last week I wrote about the crime surge the city has seen. It’s only gotten worse since.

Matt Shlonsky was 23 years old, a 2014 graduate of American University and an employee at Deloitte. He was walking near the Shaw Metro station yesterday, minding his own business, when he was randomly killed, a victim of a drive by shooting in what has become a lawless Shaw community.

As an elected city official I call on the mayor to immediately implement a true plan, with specific actions, to take back our communities from the violent crime we’ve seen recently.

The following are ten simple strategies that could help right now. If I can come up with this list I expect our mayor and her leadership team in the executive branch can come up with an effective and comprehensive plan to solve this problem.

1. Use the bully pulpit of the mayor’s position to discuss with communities the importance of coming forward with information that could lead to the closure of open cases of violent crime. We must overcome the culture of a hero being labeled a snitch.

2. Increase the reward from $25,000 to $100,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for homicides. Year to date the city has seen 93 homicides and more than half remain unsolved.

3. Re-introduce district-based plain clothes vice units. The Third District vice unit was responsible for 1,400 arrests and 100 gun seizures alone in 2014. Crime suppression teams, fully uniformed and in marked, and very visible, police cruisers, are unable to be as effective as the vice units were.

4. Increase enforcement of public housing and Section 8 rules. With 70,000 residents on the waiting list for housing assistance, we cannot tolerate any public housing or Section 8 residents who harbor criminals or break rules – or allow their guests to. When a public housing or Section 8 resident is convicted of a felony that news needs to be shared amongst agencies and result in an eviction per the public housing rules.

5. Set up zero tolerance policing zones where arrests will occur, without warning, to anyone committing any crime – including quality of life crimes such as drinking in public, prostitution, public urination, marijuana use, illegal gambling and the like.

6. Unrestricted police overtime. The police department needs as many officers on the street as possible to get us through the summer.

7. Curfew enforcement. The law says juveniles under the age of 17 shall be inside by midnight in the summer and that law needs to be strictly enforced.

8. The city needs to greatly increase the use of high definition surveillance and recording cameras and give grants to businesses willing to install exterior cameras and share the live feed with the police department.

9. The same people are getting arrested over and over again and it becomes a “badge of honor”, as one officer told me. We need to look closely at how many arrests are not prosecuted and what comes of those cases that are. The reality is a tiny portion of people commit the violent crime and we need to get them locked up for a long time.

10. All District agencies must work together to combat crime and the agency directors need to be held accountable. It should not have taken three months after a homicide across from Kennedy Rec Center in Shaw for DPR & DGS to get a contract for cameras executed.

The list above is only made up of short-term solutions to get us through the summer without more tragedies. The city must continue to work on long term solutions including increased and better programming at recreation centers, improvement of schools, job training and job growth.

I call on the city council to hold all city agencies accountable through oversight hearings and ensure all reasonable funding requests from agencies responsible for public safety are met now and into the future. Councilmembers also have a huge voice in the community and must speak out regarding this violence.

I call on my colleagues in the business community to stand by me and demand the mayor take immediate steps to combat crime before it negatively impacts our businesses.

I call on my fellow Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners to keep up the pressure. Don’t be afraid to speak out. Don’t let this issue slip when crime drops with the temperature. Demand that our leaders in the executive branch come up with long term solutions to what is an always anticipated rise in crime in the summer.

To our hardworking members of the police department, I hear you. I hear that you feel the neighborhoods and your progress over the years is slipping. Keep up your good work as the residents of this great city are behind you and we will not give up.

Charlie Bengel
Commissioner, ANC 2F06
Chairman, Logan Circle Public Safety Committee”

  • say what

    All good points. But this mayor isnt going to do anything to upset the base. This is my worst fear coming true. I have tolerated shootings for 20 years in the CIyt as almost all of them were targeted between crews etc. But this is truly terrifying.

    • Anonymous

      So as long as they are killing each other, who cares? But once violence hits the high rent district, it’s time to get serious about fighting crime…in the high rent district?

      And what “base” are you talking about? If by “base” you mean black residents in low-income areas, they have been living with, and continue to live with, way higher levels of violent crime than residents in other parts of the city. If the low-income residents of Shaw are upset about anything, it’s that it takes the killing of a particular kind of “innocent bystander” – a new, higher-income resident as opposed to one of the many low-income residents – to get attention directed towards problems they have been having for years.

      • Techite70

        Exactly!!! No one seemed to give a darn until folks with money and the “right” demographics moved in. Now lives matter. That’s what has folks riled. It’s just so very “in your face.” In Shaw, how many years have Howard University students been in the community? Does the city give a darn about the safety of black college students all these many years? Heck, a Howard student was killed on the street last summer, but the “right folks” are upset now, so let’s see what happens. Now because the demographics are changing, the city is supposed to pay attention. How sad for the neglect all these many, many years.

        • Keefer

          How much guilt am I supposed to have for wanting to feel safe in my city? Should it be crippling enough that I just shut up and do nothing about it? Maybe I should just move away? Clearly I am the reason for the violent crime in the city… God I am so confused and torn…

          • Anon

            Guilt is not a prequisite to understanding that this is NOT a brand new issue, but one that had been largely ignored until the city’s demographics changed. My neighbors and I have attended enough community meetings and engaged enough officials over the past 2 decades to know this. Just like YOU, WE also want to feel safe in our city!!

  • Accountering

    I am on board with all of the above. I would add that a quick way to solve the officer shortage could be by paying out signing bonuses. We should have billboards up in every large city in the country to recruit officers to move to DC. Full moving expenses paid, free apartment for the first year, $50,000 signing bonus and the like. I wouldn’t be surprised if we could find 500 officers under this type of program by the end of the September.

    If it costs DC $100,000/officer, we would spend $50,000,000 (or $77 per DC resident) and be back to fully staffed. Seems like a bargain IMO.

    • The OP Anon

      I agree that such plan would be fruitful – hell, even a $15K bonus tax-free would get apps pouring in.
      But unfortunately budgeting is allocated on an annual basis and needs to be approved by Congress. Good luck with that.

      • Accountering

        I hear what you are saying about the budgeting process, and that is likely what we would hear from politicians if this plan gained steam, but I still tend to feel that if Bowser really wanted to do this, she could make it work.

        • annonny

          The city also has a “rainy day fund” that is pretty flush and expenditures from it could be exempt from the annual budgeting process. If people being gunned down in broad daylight isn’t a “rainy day” then I don’t know what is.

    • Former Oakland resident

      Oakland tried all that (well not the housing part) and it has one of the highest starting salaries for police in the country. It still has recruiting problems. Why? Rep for bad management, an unsupportive city council, and mayors who are ineffectual at best. Sound familiar? Why choose Oakland (or DC) when you can get a much less stressful position elsewhere? Money ain’t everything. Instead you’ll attract those who can’t get in anywhere else.

      It’s basically a band aid. A very costly band aid.

      And $100k sounds too low for an officer. It’s probably $120k+ when adding in everything.

      • Anonymous

        I keep reading about how bad management is the problem with various urban police departments. Here is another problem – police work is hard and dangerous, particularly in urban areas. I don’t care how great the management is, if I can make almost as much, if not more money policing a community with less crime, why wouldn’t I take that job? I am sure there are prospective officers who want to work in a challenging environment. But I’m sure there are just as many who don’t want that much of a challenge.
        Also, not everybody is suited to be a police officer in any community, high-crime or low-crime. Basic physical and psychological screening weeds out a lot of people. Witness the stories of officers involved in a questionable shooting who it turns out were denied a position in another department because they flunked the training.

        • textdoc

          +1 to “Also, not everybody is suited to be a police officer in any community, high-crime or low-crime. Basic physical and psychological screening weeds out a lot of people. Witness the stories of officers involved in a questionable shooting who it turns out were denied a position in another department because they flunked the training.”
          Recently I was reading the February 2015 New Yorker article on the Albuquerque police department. It offers a sobering look at what can happen when a police department focuses single-mindedly on increasing its numbers, with little regard to the quality of the potential officers it’s bringing in.

      • Accountering

        These all sound like fixable problems if the willpower was there. I have no problem with a costly bandaid that gets more officers on the street.
        So we spend $120k to recruit each officer. That still seems to make sense to me.

      • Anonymous

        I’m sorry, but a $120,000 salary for a regular police officer is totally insane. Officers making that much would have to be on their A-game at all points, which means no standing around in a group chatting or sitting in a car watching videos or checking their phones.

        • anonymous

          I am not saying it is fair or not, but there are a lot of people in all walks of life making that kind of money who not working hard all day long…

          • Luckycat

            I agree. If someone is putting their life on the line and you expect them to be on their A-Game, getting paid $50k a year simply doesn’t cut it. I know plenty of people who earn $120K plus per year, who may work “hard” but don’t face the same risks as police officers do.

          • AG

            What are they doing, and how can I get their jobs?

        • HaileUnlikely

          If you are in a salaried position with benefits, I hope you realize that the amount of money that your employer needs to budget for you is much much more than the amount that you receive in the form of your salary. If the cost of an officer was $120K per year, that would not translate to a $120K salary.

          • Former Oakland Resident

            Exactly. I was including training, equipment, etc. Salary is just a portion of the cost.

      • The mayor’s summer job program included “youths” up to age 24. Are any community leaders trying to recruit new police officers from the vast pool of unemployed young city residents?

        I know there were problems in the past recruiting young locals into the DC police (poorly educated, poorly trained, poor management, unsuitable candidates passed through) but there must be some way to find, train and retain the 500 officers we are currently lacking.

        Imagine 500 young people coming out of our own communities, trained for a decent lifelong career and actually living in the communities. With good training, continuing education opportunities, and home-buying assistance I don’t think this is impossible.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, many good points. Loitering and quality of life infractions breed more serious crimes. Tighten the loitering laws and reinstate the district level VICE to allow police to do their jobs and you’ll see these shootings decrease.

    • pwedz

      loitering isn’t illegal in DC and isn’t soon to be..

  • Anonymous

    Sadly, a 23 yo college graduate hill intern is not going to shake up the community that matters to Bowser. Nothing is going to change. Thanks for trying though, Charlie.

    • susan

      But what if we have more Charlies? His voice alone is not enough, but if enough of us sign on to this, she has to at least pretend to listen?

    • Anonymous

      Where was this ten-point plan when the mother was shot and killed on Memorial Day?

      • 7thStTechGuy

        Amen. Nothing not a peep. She was just chilling with her friends and a couple of animals shot her. No innocent person’s death is more valuable. But apparently, if you get shot in DC and are white, shit happens.

        • Kingman Park

          I understand the sentiment, however Charnice Milton’s death on Good Hope Road was a catalyst in the crackdown on dirtbikes and ATVs. You don’t hear the same amount outrage from the deaths of innocent black people because you aren’t a part of their community. Trust me, there’s outrage.

        • hmm

          maybe you should ask the ANC members from the district she lived in

        • Techite70

          Where was the outrage when the Howard U student was killed on a neighborhood street during a robbery? Did you all express your concern/outrage then?

      • Luckycat

        Understand your feelings, but I don’t think this is a racial issue. How many more murders or shootings have their been since Memorial Day? The article states things are getting worse, everyone seems to agree this summer has been particularly violent. I don’t think it’s one particular person getting shot that makes the difference, but when looked at over the course of a period of time, the shootings are increasing in frequency and randomness.

        • Anon

          You’re right. In my eyes this has much to do with class than race. But when the two are so inextricably linked in DC, it’s silly to try to exclude race from the conversation.

  • Crittenden St Res

    #3 and #8 would make a world of difference on my street. Thanks for providing specifics… sure wish the Mayor and Chief would too!

  • susan

    This is a great list. The silence from our mayor has been deafening. What is she going to do when people start moving out of the city in droves and businesses shut or take their business elsewhere? I don’t think she cares. She is in way over her head!!!

  • retropean

    #9 is key and disappointingly low on the list. It doesn’t matter how many times they get caught if there is no punishment/they are back out the next day.

    • sproc

      It’s directly linked to #1 and #2, though, which are at the top of his list. Without credible witnesses and impartial juries, arrests become exercises in futility.

  • madmonk28

    With the shortage in police officers, is it possible for DC to tap into the many federal uniformed police agencies in Washington? Could the city ramp up recruitment of police and while they are being hired and trained, access federal uniformed officers (I assume we’d have to reimburse the federal government for their time)?

    • sproc

      But the terrorists!!! Seriously, the size of and number of federal police agencies–especially in this city–seems wildly out of wack with the threat and downright cynical given the biggest actual threats to public safety and QOL.

      • Anonymous

        Maybe Bowser can start calling those committing these crimes “domestic terrorists” to get the Fed’s attention, but that would require her calling out her base for committing the vast majority of crime in the city.

    • Jack Stevens

      The good news here, and something that I don’t think enough people know about, is anytime you see anything that shouldn’t be happening in the DC parks, call the US Park Police. They are the federal police, not subjected to the same staffing limitations of MPD, and additionally are mandated to show up to any reported illegal activity (and do, pretty much immediately.)

      Call 911, ask for US park police and tell them where the problem is. They come in hard and dont mess around.

    • Anon

      I’ve long wondered if it would be possible to classify these gangs as terrorists. Then maybe they could be eliminated with drone strikes.

      • Anon

        I think the thread has reached its logical conclusion with this post – bombing the homes of American civilians is the only obvious solution. Cheers.

  • Jack Stevens

    The majority of this city doesn’t even know about these crimes/murders. How could NBCwashington not even have the driveby as a story today? Isn’t it the responsibility of the press to inform the public? Additionally, we should relocate money from the housing trust to hiring new officers. What good is new housing if we cant even keep it remotely safe. I guarantee you that if you ask the area developers for money and say that it would go immediately towards hiring 100 top notch police you could get $15,000/per officer signing bonuses in no time at all.

    • 7thStTechGuy

      The news outlets were parked at 7th and S doing standups today.

  • SWChris

    “1. Use the bully pulpit of the mayor’s position to discuss with communities the importance of coming forward with information that could lead to the closure of open cases of violent crime. We must overcome the culture of a hero being labeled a snitch.”

    Ok. Tell the police to go first.

  • KAM- Petworth

    I disagree with #2 & #4- folks are not going to cooperate with the police. period. It’s not safe for them to do so, and no amount of assurances by the police is going to encourage this, so we shouldn’t waste efforts on that. Secondly, policing public housing is a wasted use of manpower. What truly should be happening is there should be a limited term on the # of years residents can inhabit public housing, and vocational training/educational resources should be tied to residing there. Without adequate education and job skills training, the residents will not be sufficient to live independently. What most people forget is that the government created a heavy dependence of single women on welfare and erected legal barriers for the male significant other who was gainfully employed to live there. More affordable housing options need to be made available instead of all these ridiculously high priced condos that are popping up everywhere. DC should not be just a city for the rich, but a city for all people who want to be in close proximity to good jobs, services and public transportation. Also, increase the minimum wage beyond the new proposal to a livable wage and higher trained, seasoned educators for the public schools. These are long-term viable solutions that will end up costing taxpayers way less in the end.

    While I’m not enamored with Bowser, I think that Chief Lanier should be held more accountable than she has been. I’ve been to several community meetings and have not seen the necessary community policing that will reduce crime long-term, and I think we need new leadership for DC Police. Since folks are so outraged, lets start with the Chief of Police and not with a newly elected Mayor. I work East of the River, and it’s horrible up there, but folks don’t get upset until crime is threatening their own property values and families. Young men are dying at alarming rates in Northeast and Southeast in far larger numbers than Uptown. Community action and mobilization should include all areas not just those with new wealthy residents.

    • Truxtonres

      +1 for this comment. This is a great long term plan, but unfortunately people want to see immediate action and believe that a stronger police force will solve the problem. There are already police at most of these places and it doesn’t seem to change anything.

    • SomePeopleOnThisSiteSheesh

      Excellent points, all. Especially the last paragraph. Unfortunately getting wealthy people to care about crime in poor areas is pretty much the platonic ideal of spinning your wheels. But I agree with all of what you said.

    • west_egg

      “folks don’t get upset until crime is threatening their own property values and families”
      Is this not a natural tendency? I completely agree that action and mobilization should include all communities but I think it makes sense that people feel more threatened when the violence strikes closer to home.

    • pwedz

      not true – I live in NE and people are plenty ready to work with MPD.

    • dmzzz

      Affordable housing needs to be a major part of this plan. Crime doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

  • kken

    Lists like these is how the Patriot Act gets started.

    • Jack Stevens

      No matter what people think of this list or the patriotic act, while not in favor, I am in favor of staying alive and living the best life possible at the sake of my privacy

  • Curious George

    Yes! This +1000. Let’s get all this implemented ASAP! I support it 100%.

  • JL

    Yet again another totally random, horrific, violent homicide. People need to be arrested and locked up for this stupidity for a long time. I totally agree with Charlie’s suggestions #1-7 above. #9 I agree with 100%. The courts need to stop letting people back out on the street with slaps on the wrist. The courts are far too lenient in this city. They need to stay in jail/prison for a long time if they are committing violent crimes.

  • Josh

    I have a serious question to ask that relates to number four on Mr. Bengel’s list…. how much of this crime spike can be traced/tied back to residents/guests/occupants of public housing complexes in the city?

    I’m not asking to start a flame war and I hope this doesn’t turn into a “poor people suck” string. I was just wondering if there were any statistics or data points that correlate violent crimes in surrounding communities to public housing complexes? Anecdotally, it seems the two are connected (and I freely admit I’m a person who believes such), but is this a justified belief?

    • HillEast

      there is a rock solid correlation between the two. Just look at the violent crime rates around Sursum Corda, Barry Farm, Potomac Gardens, and Park Morton.

      • Josh

        I don’t disagree with you at all. But then it begs the question… If there is a correlation between substantially increased violet crime rates and public housing complexes, is it worth having public housing complexes in the community?

        • JP

          Obviously not. The problem is public housing dwellers make up a substantial percentage of the voting base. The downside of having a highly diverse population is that it is impossible to satisfy the needs of everyone in the community.

          • d

            There are 8,700 public housing units in DC (may of which are set aside for seniors) so even if public housing residents vote at a much higher rate than the rest of the population (and I think that would be an incorrect assumption) they are not driving the political decisions and discourse in this community.

          • Anonymous

            Thanks for the perspective, d.

          • Anonymous

            You and your stupid facts d!

  • Mojotron

    There’s a real dichotomy between “have the mayor speak up to say that the community should trust the police” and “arrest people on sight for minor quality of life violations”. One of those things ain’t happening with the other.

    • Jack Stevens

      What is the Dichotomy?…1) Dont commit crime, dont get arrested, no matter how small. 2) Police arresting law breakers only allows for non law breakers to continue to live and to follow the laws that they were following already…seems to be pretty parallel to me

      • Krampus

        Seriously? Another way to put it is this: you’re not going to get the cooperation and trust of the community if you’re simultaneously busting them for every single tiny quality of life infraction. It’s frustrating, because it sort of implies that you have to tolerate small bullshit to get at big bullshit, but that’s the way it is. Of course all of this is in theory; I have my doubts as to how much cooperation you’re going to get no matter what you do.

  • Eponymous

    11. Begin process to recall Mayor “I’m Holding Some Meetings On This” Bowser.

  • JIm Slicio

    I agree with most of the points. Here is my list:

    1. Pressuring DCRA to improve/modify existing regulations regarding vacant and blighted properties (if residents or business don’t pay taxes, DC should use eminent domain to take the properties).
    2. Improve CCTV network (quantity and quality of images, actually have them running, storage of video, monitoring) in locations with known issues.
    3. Push for quicker development of Park Morton or move away from condensed low-income housing.
    4. Quickly remove graffiti from locations within designated areas of high crime.
    5. Return vice squad.

  • zaqataq

    CH homeowner here. I’ve been raising the alarm about the increasing crime for more than a year, but with the MPD and CM Nadeau. MPD to their credit has been very responsive, if late to admit the spike in crime was real, and an emergency. I’ve heard nothing but blandishments from Nadeau, who suggested ways for me to get more involved in the community. I agree with her that community engagement is important, but what I didn’t hear was a plan to address the emergency of the crime wave through better/more policing and enforcement. In that regard I’ve been very disappointed.

    Mr. Bengel’s statement is a good start. Here at least is a proposed plan, and a real acknowledgement of the problem. I didn’t realize until I read his statement how desperate I was for some real leadership on this issue. I’m not saying the plan is perfect, or even good frankly, although it seems promising, but I hope it can be a jumping off point to get some real leadership from our elected officials.

    How can we help support Mr. Bengel’s efforts?

    • Susan

      Completely agree! I would like to know how we can help Charlie too.

    • Anony

      Agreed, at least someone is stepping up with tangible and specific ACTIONS to be taken to tackle this growing problem. I’ve had about enough (as have my neighbors) of CM Nadeau’s pandering and general community engagement, how about some real steps as Mr. Bengel has outlined. Be our leader and help push some of these through! Nadeau, are you listening??

      • zaqataq

        Perhaps we can all email her Charlie’s proposal and ask if she supports it?

  • ColHeights Newbie

    Great points, and I would just like to ask… Is there anything that we, as individuals, can do? If there’s a letter-writing campaign, or an event of some kind, I would love to participate. There has to be something, right? It’s one thing to lament the city’s problems in the comments of Popville… maybe we should organize something? I wouldn’t know how to begin, I only *just* figured out who my ANC Member is.

    I just moved in to the city this summer after living in Arlington for two years, and as happy as I am to finally be in a diverse, vibrant neighborhood, everything that’s happened has caused me to question whether it was the best decision. I don’t want that to be true.

    • I Dont Get It

      Emailing your council member would be a good start. Mayor Bowser also.

      • susan

        What is Bowser’s email address?

    • anon_data

      I know – is there any single idea that we could rally around? I can express my frustration to the mayor/councilmember but just feel like it will fall on deaf ears. I feel ya – we bought three years ago and are expecting now and this past month is seriously making me reconsider if DC is safe enough to start our family (and hold onto our mortgage), which just makes me feel guilty. Maybe we should organize something.

  • SomePeopleOnThisSiteSheesh


    1) Oh yeah, that’s an easy one. Why didn’t anyone think of this before? (/s) Cops have been fighting this fight for decades. It’s not just going to happen because the mayor told people that “snitching” is OK.

    2) No sarcasm, good idea. At least some increase seems warranted.

    3) Agree.

    4) You’ve seemingly connected the dots all on your own. What stories have you heard, or even rumors have you heard, that Section 8 housing residents are behind this summer’s crime wave?

    5) This has been tested by criminologists and social scientists many times. The topic is settled–this does absolutely no good in the aggregate, and ties up resources while crime just moves a few blocks away. Bad idea.

    6) Agree.

    7) This will not fix anything.

    8) This could help, but it’s not really like the other items on your list.

    9) I agree that violent criminals need to have the book thrown at them, but what about repeat offenders who are not associated with any violence? These are the people getting left behind in society when we imprison them for possession, etc.

    10) True, but this is a major American city. It’s never going to work particularly well.

    You have a few ideas, but you’re not as far ahead of the game as you think you are.

    • HandHeadHeadacheRepeat

      Here’s my problem with #2, who is paying?

      Otherwise, I’m pretty much where you’re at with these responses. There are some decent ideas, but it seems short-sighted and the fourth one is frankly highly offensive.

    • TempleCt

      Number 3 is discrimination thats why Lanier got rid of it. Only blacks were being arrested by jumpouts/plain clothes vice units.

  • I Dont Get It

    Someone tweeted this PoP link to Mayor Bowser.

    • textdoc

      I think Charlie Bengel might have also sent it to her directly. I first saw his message on a neighborhood Yahoogroup on Sunday, so I think he’s been sending it to multiple outlets and quite possibly directly to the mayor herself.

  • MCR

    Most of these are good suggestions, but #5 is a terrible idea that will tie up valuable resources and make policing violent crime more difficult.

  • 7thStTechGuy

    The sad thing is that Tamara Gliss’ murder remains unsolved- and from what it sounds like, people in that area knew this was going to happen one day, but the police did nothing. If I recall correctly, there had been another shooting a few days before her murder, and MPD was asleep at the wheel. She was a mother of two minding her own business hanging out with her friends- that could have been anyone. I live in 7th Flats and walk my dog every day in the neighborhood surrounding our building, and can be seen frequenting the various neighborhood establishments we have for a weekend libation or 5, Matt Schlonsky could have been me, my girlfriend, my neighbor and her young son- or any of the thousands of innocent people that walk up and down 7th street every day. There have been muggings, Heroin arrests, open drug use, public urination, lewd behavior, verbal assaults and stabbings- it ebbs and flows, and no Madam Mayor Emptysuit it’s not Scooby Snax or the hot weather, its your inability to staff 3rd District with officers that it needs. I got back from a trip to the word of Matt’s death and was furious because we have raised this flag to Nadeau, every police officer we see, and every detective we have seen- and nothing has happened; the blood of Tamara Gliss, Charnice MIlton and Matt Schlonsky is on the mayor, the council and Chief Lanier’s hands. Developers want to fill places like O st Market and the Shay, the heat is going to have to come from them because clearly our voices and pockets arent robust enough. I have said on here several times that Bowser is not the person for the job, she has not challenged anyone to change anything in this city- my family is from here and kind of smirk when we say “look, its changed a bunch” and they reply with “just give it some time, DC doesnt permanently change, it just cleans up a bit for dinner”. Incidents like Matt Schlonsky’s death will slow development, and slow investments in communities like Shaw that want and need it, an investment that I am proud to make. Its a sad comedy that Mr.Schlonsky was murdered around the corner from where Bowser celebrated her campaign victory with a speech citing one of her goals to increase the city’s safety. Granted we are lucky to live in the part of the District we do, rent is high and restaurants are expensive, and it is worse in other parts of town- but this group of administration goofballs has a good chance to show that they can actually do something in this part of town, or at least try new tactics that they can carry into other higher crime parts of the District like 5, 6,7- and improve the lives of those not as privileged as us. As for hiring officers- there are a ton of military bases in this area that out process thousands of Soldiers, Saliors, Airmen and Marines- has MPD even considered attending those job fairs? I believe that is what Arlington County and Montgomery/PG County used to do. Just a thought on a simple way of bridging that 500-1000 officer gap- and FFS- that is a ton of officers, the District is not that big… you have to be really stupid to let that happen…oh wait.

    • Susan

      This is well said!!

    • xminustdc


  • Keefer

    #3 all day long. The decision to centralize Vice was political and wrong headed. I live in the third district and have talked to cops from beat cops up to the commander and they all say the same thing, getting rid of vice has crippled them. Localized vice had the ability to learn patterns and people and act on the knowledge in a proactive way, for example using the roof of the Gibson Building at Keyon and Georgia while it was under construction so spy down on that troubled portion of Georgia Ave. We need policing like this again, it has gotten far to easy to get away with the open sale of hard drugs.

    • Jack Stevens

      lets start at #bringbackVice campaign to social media accounts of all council and the mayor..it can be right there next to Muriel rock climbing the day after the latest murder

  • Chad Lockheart

    The shooting was a horrible tragedy, but is there a total need to call on the creation of a police state. We do live in a city and all and violent crime will happen.

    • Jack Stevens


      The Police are here to protect us. Dont commit Crime and it wont feel like a police state. Does NYC feel like a police state. I personally like getting to Penn Station and seeing armed military protecting us.

      • Chad Lockheart

        Does NYC assume that because you live in Sec 8 housing that you’re a criminal? Charlie Bengel seems to think so.

        • Anony

          @Chad Lockheart:
          That is an absurd jump. Nice try though

      • Colhi

        Does NY feel like a police state? According to many African American and other citizens of color–who are not criminals, fyi– yes, it does.

    • newdarkages47

      This mentality is exactly what is wrong with DC. “Oh it’s a city so homicides are just going to happen” implies that we should do nothing about them. There is a clear spike in crime. Homicides are up 23% this year compared to last. It’s just the synthetic drugs or summer.

      It’s time for the mayor and residents to do something but when I keep hearing people using the “it’s a city” excuse over and over, I have less hope anything with actually get accomplished.

      • newdarkages47

        It’s NOT just the synthetic drugs or summer.

  • JohnH

    I posted earlier in the month about increasing police presence at some heavily trafficked areas after the shootings on 7th and O – which mainly included 7th and S.

    Half of effective policing is to listen to residents. We know where things are happening – I saw kids rob Pizza D’Oro as I was standing in the store – where employees chased down the kids, who were then screaming obscenities at the employees and threatening them. The fact that’s occurring at a fairly busy intersection (the employees said it’s a common occurrence) and no police presence is around is crazy. Doesn’t take much for those situations to turn violent.

    This weekend, ironically, was the first time I’ve seen police out getting rid of people loitering in this area. So they’re slowly taking steps forward.

    But I can’t help but almost laugh when I go by the police tent on 7th and O. Literally 2 officers sitting under a tent hanging out. How about the two of them walking around together? Sitting there handing flyers out is only going to do so much.

    Oh, also – I was pulled over at 9th and R a few weeks ago…for turning right onto R (a one way street) without coming to a complete stop. No pedestrians around. I didn’t get a ticket – but still, is that really a top priority?

    • 7thStTechGuy

      Or yelling at taxis dropping off passengers…that’s a priority.

      • JohnH

        People (not just cabs) making streets their own personal parking lot IS annoying as hell and is also dangerous. I’ve seen numerous accidents occur because of that. I’ve never seen an accident occur with no other cars, pedestrians or bikes present where someone doesn’t come to a complete stop while making a right turn (while ironically the cop blew through an intersection to pull me over).

        • textdoc

          Just because you haven’t seen any accidents occur as a result of someone rolling through a right turn on red (rather than coming to a complete stop) doesn’t make it an OK practice.
          Considering how much flouting of traffic laws there is in D.C. — people speeding, not signaling, not yielding to pedestrians, not coming to a complete stop when required — I’m actually kind of heartened to hear that any traffic enforcement is actually taking place.

          • d

            Right? And I think it’s kind of funny that people who want stop and frisk (where people are searched basically without probable cause other than being young, black and in a “bad” neighborhood) don’t want to see traffic enforcement.

            Wouldn’t broken windows policing in fact INCLUDE traffic enforcement? I’d feel a lot safer in this city if aggressive driving, stop sign running and red light running and failure to yield to pedestrians were policed. It would save lives and raise revenue–which could be reinvested in public safety including the hiring of additional officers.

          • JohnH

            What I said was there was NO ONE around. Am I going to get in a wreck with myself? I literally pulled out of my parking spot on the street – the last spot at the corner of 9th and R which is about 3 feet from the intersection – and was pulled over. The cop literally watched me get into my car.

            I’m not saying people not coming to a complete stop at all right turns is ok. I’m saying in my particular instance, it was absurd.

  • ShawMEC

    Something that really made me angry this morning – the Mayor’s Twitter account. She has not even mentioned the shootings, and I found no press releases/newsletters/statements/anything on the Mayor’s website.

    Where is she?!

    • Anony

      We need to bombard her and Nadeau (email, call, social media, etc…) and force them out to stop talking and implement some actions that will keep us safe! Starting with #BringBackMPDVICE

    • west_egg

      When pressed, I’m sure she’ll make a statement about how she “has concerns.”

    • JohnH

      Getting a new hair style?

    • brightwoodess

      Out promoting DC Tourism. She won’t be returning your calls until the day a tourist randomly catches a bullet. Which, unfortunately, should be any day now.

      • JohnH

        There’s a decent number of tourists at City Market now with the Cambria open. And they walk down 7th to get to the Metro. Hopefully the hotel tells people to walk down 9th for directions to the Metro.

  • soledad

    Please contact Mayor Bowser about this:

    Phone: (202) 727-2643

  • jacksom

    Great list especially #4, everyone living in section 8 housing are not criminals and do use this system to help them get back on their feet. But I think residents who live in section 8 housing should be monitored to prevent the harboring of criminals/repeat offenders (who commits a lot of the crimes in DC because the city just wants to slap them on the wrist instead giving a real punishment for their lawlessness). Those who do should be evicted ASAP.

    Section 8 housing should not be generational. It’s a temporary solution to help lift people up and out of the predicament they are in.

  • Annon MPD (2)

    All of this is great but everyone is forgetting that today at work, during the most calls for service, in the district I work in there will be less than 15 officers working. (Not giving an extract amount no need to be thrown under bus by the brass.)

  • Coldbliss

    So the majority of people here support the zero-tolerance policing and the “stopping & frisking” of young minority males at will. So when your newly-hired white DC cops shoot unarmed black teenagers or put black men in deadly choke holds for minor transgressions, there will be similar outrage among the commentators here, right?

    More cops. More prisons. Longer sentences. Not a recipe for success if you ask me.

    • anonyme

      “More cops. More prisons. Longer sentences. ”

      Actually, it sounds like a pretty good start to me.

    • xminustdc

      I 100% agree with you, Coldbliss.

  • JohnH

    For the reward part – obviously $100,000 is significantly more than $25k, but considering this mostly targets lower income people….are they really hesitating on turning someone in cause they don’t think $25,000 is worth it? If I knew something, I’d be excited to alert the cops for $1,000, let alone $25k. Would $100k really “change the game”?

    • ShawMEC

      My guess is people are not even aware of such a reward. Perhaps greater advertisement of that $25,000 reward in high-crime communities would be more helpful than raising the reward amount.

      • textdoc

        I’ve seen the $25K reward mentioned at the bottom of enough MPD flyers to be familiar with it. I think these flyers are usually posted or hand-delivered in the areas where the homicides took place, so I don’t think it’s an awareness issue. I think the concern is that $25K might not be enough to entice people to “snitch,” esp. if they’re concerned about retribution, but that $100K might be.
        Not sure how much MPD budgets for homicide reward money, but depending on how many homicides are homicides going unsolved, it seems like raising the amount (though maybe to $50K rather than to $100K) might be worth a try.

  • anon_data

    Some good ideas here, but so many of these statements (and all of the public official statements of late) are missing one key thing: data. There seems to be no coherent, structured approach to analyze and study why this is happening – just general statements that no one can support – synthetic drugs, violent offenders, Section 8. DC needs to open the vaults to all of their data – crime statistics, crime locations, budget and funding totals, everything. Without complete data, we can’t make good policy.

    • Anonymous

      Very true. Lots of assumptions in these comments, too.

  • anon

    Some of the ideas are bad, some are good, but at least someone is putting something out. Our DC officials sure aren’t.

  • alexw

    Regarding the use of high definition cameras, are there multiple varieties of cameras that DC has in use? The quality of the drive by shooting video several weeks ago (I recall it was on C St NE) was terrible. The license plate of the car was unreadable and I’m assuming this is due to low resolution cameras in place. Other than cost of camera and data storage concerns, I’d expect the city to buy the highest resolution cameras available.

    • brightwoodess

      I agree. Did you see the video of the July 4th shootout? That was incredibly clear video. I want to know more about that camera and why it hasn’t been deployed citywide.

  • PetCoHts

    I get that people are scared and looking for immediate action, but this list doesn’t sit well with me at all. I shared with a friend who worked directly with the justice system and is much better at articulating the problems with it than I:

    “No I hadn’t seen it. I pretty much don’t agree with any of the proposals which I’ll explain in a minute. The comments, as usual, range from helpful and insightful to racist bunk. I definitely agree with those who are wondering why it takes a white man getting shot for someone to come up with these proposals but at the same time, I don’t like the proposals anyway so it wouldn’t matter either way.

    Here are my thoughts:

    1) Not going to work. You can talk about it all you want but unless you live in the neighborhoods and face the consequences yourself, you can’t understand the no-snitching culture. And it’s beyond just not getting other people in trouble. It’s also about inviting more scrutiny into your neighborhood, and maybe your own family, for no actual gain. Throwing someone else into the “justice” system that’s already had a negative impact on your own life, either directly or through family members – a presumption, sure, but a statistical probability – is not a choice I want to make. Also, I agree with those who say the police need to remove their double standard on this (thin blue line) if they actually want neighborhoods to change their ways of thinking about it.

    2) I don’t think the amount of the reward has anything to do with it. $25K is a lot of money to most people, especially those who you want to encourage to report. It takes more than giving money to one person, who’s usually putting their and their family’s life at risk. Why can’t we invest those hundreds of thousands of dollars we can apparently get for crime reporters and actually invest them in the community?

    3) I think it’s bullshit to have undercover cops invade neighborhoods instead of having uniformed police patrolling and getting to know people in the community. You don’t need “jump outs” to run up on groups of people and search them illegally in hopes of finding weapons or drugs. Also, arrest stats themselves are bullshit. You can sure arrest a whole lot of people for just standing around with nothing to do, which is what the practice had been (and I’m not convinced still isn’t, although maybe it’s just in 5th and 7th Districts now). Police who actually engage with neighborhoods know who to look out for or who are more likely the perpetrators of violence.

    4) This is bullshit too. Where do you want felons to live? You would rather they were on the street or had more reason to go out and rob people to get money to find somewhere to stay? How is this going to help anyone? And placing the blame and burden on people who need government assistance is how we got into all these problems in the first place.

    5) No. Broken windows policing doesn’t work. Haven’t we learned this yet?

    6) No. Adding more police is not the issue. I do, however, think the quality of policing needs to be improved. But again, let’s put all this money which we can somehow magically come up with when it’s convenient to secure white neighborhoods (obviously, generalizing a bit, but come on) into keeping rec centers open later in the summer so kids have things to do, setting up midnight basketball games – hell, even with police officers playing – to provide productive things for people to do, etc. And yes, there is a summer jobs program but there are so many hoops to jump through that unfortunately a lot of the neediest kids still don’t get to participate. I used to singlehandedly enroll all of our clients in SYEP (Summer Youth Employment Program) because DYRS (Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services), which was supposed to do it for them in seamless cooperating with DOES (Department of Employment Services), never did it.

    7) No. Stop criminalizing kids and give them something to do.

    8) I’m not for more of a police/surveillance state. I guess cameras could help, but I doubt it would do much. On the other hand, I do support police body cameras and such so maybe it’s not the worst idea.

    9) Violent crimes are pretty much always prosecuted. If anything is “no papered” (not pursued after arrest) it’s usually simple possession, curfew violation, or other petty crimes. So back to 5, arresting people for that isn’t going to actually help and in fact is going to criminalize more people with arrest records who will have harder times finding jobs, housing, etc. People who commit violent crimes generally are imprisoned for long periods of time – most of them still too long, in my opinion. And we send them back home with no skills, employment opportunities, or housing. But we wonder why the cycle continues.

    10) Ok, I agree with this one. Yeah, they do. The government needs to work together and address all prongs of the problem, not just try to arrest their way out of it. You can’t lock up entire populations for the summer just because some people commit more crimes then. Pour all this phantom money into the communities who actually need things for their kids to do, ask the kids what they actually want to do and what would keep them busy and out of trouble, and understand that even with all of that there will still be a few people who commit violent crimes. It’s going to happen in any society.

    This did get under my skin a little because I can see someone just nodding in agreement with all of these so-called solutions but they have nothing to do with the actual problems. I don’t claim to have a quick fix for the crew/gang/pride problems of young men which is always exacerbated during the summer and leads to violence. But I do know that when you help someone see they are more than what their environment expects of them and they start to realize people actually care about them so they should care about themselves, and you give them the tools they need to actually achieve things for themselves, their propensity towards violence as the first solution diminishes greatly. That’s what I want to focus on.”

    • RobertMorse

      Broken windows policing DOES work. Giuliani cleaned up NYC big time. I want to be able to walk my dog in the middle of the day on a weekend without catching 8 stray bullets. DC Metro PD is understaffed and under motivated to get results. Get down from your Ivy Tower.

      • Colhi

        Statistically not true AT ALL. NYC crime rate dropped at the same time as the crime rate dropped around the country–the same drop everywhere. The crime rate dropped faster in cities without a broken window policing models. Having facts is not living in an Ivory tower. Screaming for solutions based on fear mongering and without any data makes you sound like Donald Trump.

        • RobertMorse

          Incorrect, and as a native New Yorker I can personally tell you that you are incorrect. There are studies on both sides of the issue and we could go back and forth quoting statistics all day. But as someone stated below you all just wrote a lot about basically not being able to do anything.

          Making quality of life violations a priority in high crime/high traffic areas (like the Shaw Metro area) is something that can be done right now that will have a positive affect on crime rates immediately. The police letting criminals know that they cannot act continue to act with impunity is the first step in getting this crime wave under control.

          What’s your solution?

        • Leslie

          I am also from New York, and you are correct. The crime rate did not drop in NYC because of Giuliani–it dropped overall in the US at the same time.

      • SomePeopleOnThisSiteSheesh

        It has been proven beyond a shred of doubt by criminologists, economists, and pretty much any other social scientist qualified to research societal trends that broken windows policing does not work. Period. Use your Google machine and look around for a bit. The nicest thing you’ll be able to find about it is “We need more data.” The large majority of conclusion will range from “it has no effect and wastes resources” to “it directly makes things worse.”

      • PetCoHts

        Not that you are likely to be swayed by research, but at the very least, studies to determine the effectiveness of broken windows is very, very mixed: http://cebcp.org/evidence-based-policing/what-works-in-policing/research-evidence-review/broken-windows-policing/

        The research on the decline of NYC crime attributes the drop to a number of things, with an increased arrest rate of people committing more serious crime being the most consistent factor: http://www.nber.org/digest/jan03/w9061.html

        • Leslie

          You are right that it’s somewhat complicated–but there’s also an argument that far fewer–but more strategic–arrests were the driving factor. You are kind of pointing out the same thing, but the fact is the overall arrest rate dropped significantly, which you don’t get from your article.

    • Accountering

      You wrote a lot to basically say there is nothing that can be done, and that we should let punk kids commit crimes and ruin the city for the rest of the population not committing crimes.

    • D

      I was keeping an open mind reading through your rebuttal until you said adding more officers is pointless. By the end, I was embarrassed to call myself a liberal.

    • Anntoinette White-Richardson

      Thank you for your response!

  • Anonymous

    Thank You, Charlie! I wish our ANC Reps were as vocal as you in Petworth. It’s a cesspool of crime and nothing is being done. Maybe you should run for mayor!

    • textdoc

      Given that he has a website named bengelfordc.com, I suspect he’s already considering higher office (like running for D.C. Council).

  • TempleCt

    Number 3 is discrimination thats why Lanier got rid of it. Only blacks were being arrested by jumpouts/plain clothes vice units.

  • Mark Schamel

    Some of these ideas are a great idea (plainclothes, cameras, actual prosecutions). Some are a terrible idea (arresting everyone in a particular area and/or arresting people for things that should not be crimes – marijuana and drinking). All require a massive spend.

    This list, while showing some initiative and getting people talking about the problem we need to fix, appears written by someone with no clue about the criminal justice system, policing, crime prevention and the actual problems that lead us to where we are.

    • Anntoinette White-Richardson

      Enough said -TOUCHE!


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