Editorial: Capitol Hill PSA Meetings Are Failures and the ANCs Should Fix It
by Larry Janezich
Violent crime on Capitol Hill is on the rise. Last night a mugging in the 200 block of 9th Street, SE, sent the victim to the hospital – as did a mugging two days ago on Linden Place, NE. This week, Da Luft was closed after the staff covered up a stabbing on the premises and refused to cooperate with police. And tonight, MPD was a no-show for the second month in a row at PSA 108. Was it because of Emancipation Day or because the minimal resident turnout for the PSAs meetings provide no incentive for MPD to invest in them?
PSA: Police Service Area. Police officials from each PSA make themselves available once a month to interact with residents and to answer questions regarding the status of crime in the PSA. See map of PSAs here: http://1.usa.gov/1J3W2Kp
ANC6A and ANC6B should follow the lead of ANC6D and integrate MPD PSAs meetings into ANC or ANC Committee proceedings – especially, ANC6B, where PSA 107 is scheduled on the same night the ANC6B Alcohol Beverage Committee meets. This integration would serve two purposes, it would provide a regular audience of residents who have demonstrated a concern regarding the well-being of the community, and it would provide a degree of accountability by the MPD to the residents they serve.
Bloggers in Ward Six and across the city are missing a bet in failing to cover PSA meetings – one of the few places where the MPD interacts with the public in an open public setting. True, media coverage would change the nature of these events, but they might turn into something approaching collaboration rather than the routine one-way recitation of crime statistics which currently characterize these meetings. If the ANCs and residents provide more support for the original idea of community policing upon which the PSA meetings are based, everyone would seem to benefit.