Petworth News

Missed you at tonight’s PSA 404/407 meeting! But since I went, here’s my notes: :) (I arrived a it early and asked the officers at the front desk where the PSA meeting was going to be held. They didn’t know, and oddly, they had never heard of Lt Van Crawford (PSA 407) and 4D Commander Manlapaz. Weird.)

This was the largest group of residents attending a PSA 404/407 meeting (in that there were about 15 or so); pretty unusual turnout when there isn’t a large spike in crime happening.

Besides the residents, ANC 4C Commissioners Zach Teutsch and Vann-Di Galloway attended, as did ANC 4A Commissioner Gale Black and ANC 4D Commissioner Krystal Branton. Khalil Thompson, the mayor’s Ward 4 liaison was also there (doesn’t this guy ever get to go home and enjoy an evening? I see him at every single community meeting.)

From MPD, Lieutenants Whiteside (404) and Van Crawford (407) were there, as was Captain Brian Bray (4D night commander) and the new substation Inspector Vendette Parker. (I have to say that the Lieutenants, Inspector and Captain are incredibly nice people, very interested in speaking with and working with residents.)

Lt. Whiteside opened the meeting and introduced two of his mountain bike officers (they’re in patrol cars right now, though). They left to go out on patrol, and I only got one officer’s name (Gill) unforunately.

If you haven’t seen an officer on a Segway in the area, turns out Officer Brent Khelawan has transferred to a new unit. As a former segway tour guide, I had a special appreciation for seeing Officer Khelawan zip by.

Lt Whiteside said he accidentally didn’t bring the crime stats with him (had it with him all day and left them at home right before he arrived). But basically, crime in both 404 and 407 are down this year (calendar year and fiscal year [since October]). 404 is definitely down this past month, though property crime is still a problem.

Zach Teutsch asked if the decrease in crime was a factor of the cold weather, and Lt Whiteside said with a laugh, “I’m going to say it’s because of amazing police work.”

Zach asked about updates on the sexual assault 2 months ago in an alley near Randolph and Quincy. Lt. Whiteside said there weren’t any updates that he was aware of, and he hasn’t been notified of any arrests. He did caveat that MPD doesn’t normally comment on ongoing investigations. (Probably doesn’t help to have a blogger sitting there taking active notes, too.)

Gail Black asked about crime in the Crestwood area, specifically 16th Street, near Varnum and Shepherd. There has been an ongoing problem with robberies, stolen cars and the like. It’s a known hot spot, but they’re not sure why (easy access out of the area, was Ms Black’s opinion). She also talked about illegal parking issues with the Mt Zion church, and Lt Whiteside said they had recently spoken to the pastor about the issue, and patrol cars would keep an eye out.

Ms Black asked an interesting question she received from a neighbor about who is responsible for cleaning up dead animals found on private property. MPD didn’t know, but another resident mentioned that it’s usually the homeowner.

Khalil Thompson said the Mayor Bowser met with the City Administrator to discuss trash collection issues. He said he’ll have more info to share, but that we should see some “action in the next 72 hours.”

Inspector Vendette Parker introduced herself and said she has 21 years on the job.

Then Vann-Di Galloway asked about the recent legalization of marijuana, and Inspector Parker talked about how smoking pot is still illegal in public spaces, but possessing and smoking at home is legal. You can smoke in your home, in your backyard, on your porch but not on your front yard. You can’t sell pot, but you can gift it to someone (up to an ounce). And she mentioned that while MPD won’t arrest you for sparking up on your porch (my words), federal officers could.

Galloway also talked problems with people who get cash back from shopping at Safeway, and then get robbed in the parking garage or out on Randolph Street. Lt Whiteside said he hadn’t seen any reports on robberies. Galloway said that neighbors don’t feel safe on Randolph now. Has anyone else heard stories like this?

Whiteside mentioned that problems on 5th and Crittenden have improved as MPD has made several arrests, relocated some people and banned others from the area.

Lt Van Crawford gave a quick update on the Riyad. He said that there was still an ongoing investigation (MPD and DCRA), since they confiscated over 500 packets of synthetic drugs from the store. He said he thought DCRA was looking into shutting the store down, but had no other information.

Meeting was over in an hour, pretty quick. from Petworth News

Drew Schneider

Local DC blogger in Petworth, Washington DC.

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