93°Partly Cloudy

“Do community neighborhood meetings work or are they worth it in the overall scheme of ending neighborhood violence?”

by Prince Of Petworth July 7, 2016 at 2:10 pm 14 Comments


“Dear PoPville,

Yesterday, I found this notice tapped to the front door of my apartment building about an upcoming neighborhood community meeting addressing guns and violence. My question for the PoPville audience: Do community neighborhood meetings work or are they worth it in the overall scheme of ending neighborhood violence?

I’ve lived there over three years and every year around July 4th the expected fireworks, banging blast or gunshot sounds seems to be the norm for the week or few days that the holiday
surrounds, should I be following this as something signifcantly more? What does a meeting at the local library actually do other than meeting neighbors and the usual schmooze and networking?”

  • Howard
  • mark

    How about actually attending one and finding out?

    • Shelley

      +1. My experience is community meeting only work if folks make themselves heard by community leaders. Unfortunately, community leaders seem to pay more attention when newer residents like yourself show up. Then it’s not seen as “neighbors schmoozing and networking.”

  • Tom

    Not a total waste of time, but just like law-abiding gun owners, the people who show up are not the problem. We need a city council who will stop compromising the safety our streets for their political gain.

    • anon

      Can you please clarify? How do unsafe streets result in political gain?

  • Anonymous

    I think they work better than street memorials with teddy bears and balloons.

  • DRC

    I’d say they are fairly pointless. It’s just police or govt handing out eventually broken promises to make people feel better about their crappy situation. They seem to do nothing to curtail any crime.

    • jonah

      I would have shared this opinion before I started attending my PSA meeting. I have learned more there about how MPD and community can make change:
      – MPD has shared the work they do to help address public drinking and alcoholism along 14th street and Randolph area. A frequent question in PoPville comments. They do connect individuals with rehab programs and other help rather than arrest them which doesn’t address root cause.
      – MPD has shared the ability to request a police follow up if you call 911 and want to know what if anything resulted from a call
      – I have been connected with OAG to address drug/gun crime at nuisance properties where MPD has not been able to make arrests or have charges stick. OAG has the ability to go after nuisance property owners in ways MPD may not.
      – I have seen neighbors give MPD details on problem properties they may not have been aware of and reported change of patrols to address those properties.

      The important piece, that others mention, is you have to go for them to be effective. Telling people they are pointless tends to lead to unattended meetings that are self fulling and pointless. My PSA meeting is 30-60 minutes at most. I get to meet officers and connect names and faces. After that reaching out to them for help or advice has become much easier. I also have to give props to Lt. Washington in PSA 407 for being a great community asset for us.

  • Anony

    It depends but my experience has been positive. Great organizations like Georgia Avenue Thrive have been spawned from these exact safety meetings because the people who attended knew how to get things done through action and not a whole lot of talking and political promises.

    • Georgia Ave Thriver

      Wow, as a co-founder of Georgia Avenue Thrive that’s so great to hear. Also, just a plug that our next meeting is Monday, July 11 at 7pm at 3329 Georgia Ave NW (between Walls of Books and Midlands). This meeting we’ll focus on community safety and addressing crime issues as well as planning for upcoming an free outdoor movie night, Georgia Avenue Festival and other activities over the next few months.

  • textdoc

    The OP is lucky that his PSA actually holds monthly (!) meetings — mine holds them only quarterly.

    • Due to lack of attendance by the public. Not much point to a meeting if the only persons there are the police, talking to themselves.

      • Anon

        I went to one after a neighbor was mugged. There was talk on the block of attending to get more information about daytime patrolling in our neighborhood. I was the only ordinary citizen there. Which was kind of depressing. Then again, I haven’t been back since.

  • Ally

    If the ones on Hill East are any indication, you get a lot of good information about the process and why things are how they are (the police chief and lead DA attended the last one), but ultimately it comes down to (according to them) the courts having no accountability, which results in light or no sentences and repeat offenders. The Chief gave a stat on how many murders were committed by the same group of people over and over again and it was, while not surprising, disheartening that they can’t keep these guys locked up.


Subscribe to our mailing list