Capitol Hill PSA Meetings Are Failures and the ANCs Should Fix It

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.

6 Comments

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6 responses to “Capitol Hill PSA Meetings Are Failures and the ANCs Should Fix It

  1. Sharon

    I think that PSA 108 Lieutenant Dykes has been on leave (due a family matter) for quite a while. Another issue could be is that the meeting is not centrally located.

    Neighborhood commissioners already have a lot on their plate, I’m not sure that it fair, or even a good thing to ask them to do more. More citizens, not less should be empowered to be active community leaders.

  2. digitaleffie

    Agreed, Integrate them!

  3. We elect them to represent our concerns. yes, they do have a lot on their plates. yes it is an endless task and thankless task. But we mist presume they were aware of and ready to take on their growing responsibility when they decided to run.

  4. Catharine B.

    Agree about integrating them, for the sake of keeping residents informed and getting the MPD to show up. But also agree with Sharon there could be ways to get the whole neighborhood involved in safety.

    E.g. we could establish a “neighborhood watch” and add neighborhood watch signs to the corners. Also, it seems like certain bars (e.g. Da Luft) and bus stops (8th and H for example, though I don’t think that’s 6A) are areas that are contributing to high crime.

  5. Kelly

    I used to attend PSA meetings regularly (7-8 years ago) and it was a frustrating exercise, I never felt that my concerns were being acting on by the police officers I was communicating them to. Other people would attend and recite the same litany of complaints month in and month out. And from the police I heard: don’t wear headphones walking through the neighborhood and don’t leave anything in your car. All the tired blame-the-victim garbage that we get through the MPD listserve. Unless and until there is change in how the police interact with the neighborhood I am not going to waste my time.

  6. Jonathan

    At least the “don’t wear headphones” response to crime is better than the lecture I got when I reported another biked stolen out of my back yard. That helpful MPD officer went on at length how he lives in Fairfax and would never live in DC and if I don’t want crime I should move to Fairfax. It made me feel very good about my tax dollars paying his salary.