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“I think that 10 car break-ins or vandalism on one block constitutes a need for some action”

by Prince Of Petworth January 6, 2016 at 12:10 pm 49 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Lorie Shaull

“Dear PoPville,

Would you please consider running a post about the crime in Brookland, in particular recent slew of car vandalisms and break-ins along Newton Street NE between 1200 and 1600 blocks? On the 26th of December I walked out onto my front porch to find a group of 6 young black men rifling through my neighbors car. When I realized they clearly weren’t my neighbor I yelled to distract them and then called the police. My neighbor said she had her car locked that evening. On the 29th of December, I was sitting on my couch and heard loud voices on the street early around 1am. When I looked out my front window, I noticed there were about 10 young men inside another neighbor’s car across the street, doors and hatch opened. I quickly grabbed the phone and called 911 and in both cases, the police responded promptly, but unfortunately these men dissipated quickly. My other neighbor also said her car was locked when the police arrived.

In both incidents there was no forced entry into the vehicles or glass broken. The police mentioned the potential use of universal radio frequency transponders that are being used to enter cars and there is no way to stop them other than to get a direct visual on a perpetrator and provide that to the police. I sent a message to the Brookland list-serve and three more people have come forward in the vicinity of thee two incidents saying large groups of young men have been accessing cars with some sort of universal FOB.

The police suggested that residents on our blocks individually install surveillance cameras on our homes. Since the summer, there have been 10 instances of car break-ins or vandalisms on my block alone (1500-1600 block of Newton St NE), and I find it extremely problematic that the solution would be to purchase, monitor and maintain my own surveillance system for the exterior of my home when MPD has camera systems available that could be mounted on telephone poles in areas of high crime density. The police suggested that I send a message to Council Member McDuffie, Chief Lanier, and Mayor Bowser if I expected to get a camera mounted on my block which I did yesterday, only to have Council Member McDuffie forward my message on the Brookland list-serve to the Ward-5 police for further review.

I think that 10 car break-ins or vandalisms on one block constitutes a need for some action, and that action not being my block banding together and creating a home-surveillance hub here in Brookland. Quite frankly, between the home and car break-ins and the rash of shootings here in Brookalnd in 2015, there is a problem in this neighborhood that is not being addressed. We deserve a safe and secure neighborhood and if that means more proactive camera surveillance by MPD and more patrol presence on foot, bike and vehicle, then why don’t we have it? Instead, the law enforcement does the best they can in reactive mode with no way to visually ID any of the perpetrators who know that the minute they hear sirens or see flashing lights, they can disappear into the alleys of Brookland under the cover of darkness.”


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