Capitol Hill Residents Organize to Weigh Concerns About Recent Crime

by Sean Meehan October 23, 2015 at 3:45 pm 13 Comments

First District Commander Jeff Brown with Police Chief Cathy Lanier, April 7, 2015Some Capitol Hill residents are organizing neighborhood watches and groups to advocate for a more robust police presence after a week of violent crime in the area.

Crime was the main topic of conversation at Ward 6 Councilman Charles Allen’s community office hours this morning at Curbside Cafe in Hill East.

After a week in which five armed robberies occurred in Ward 6 in 40 minutes on Wednesday night and two shootings happened this morning, Allen has scheduled an additional community safety meeting for next week.

Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier and First District Commander Jeff Brown will also be at the meeting, which will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Friendship Public Charter School (1345 Potomac Ave. SE). Allen said he also invited representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office to the meeting.

However, some Hill residents are unsatisfied with a string of safety meetings that they say have not led to any progress combating crime in the neighborhood.

On Thursday, Hill East resident Sarah Spurgeon created a group called Citizens
for a Safe Capitol Hill. By this morning, more than 100 people had signed up to participate in the group, which Spurgeon hopes will be able to advocate for more and better police presence across the Capitol Hill area.

Citizens for a Safe Capitol Hill will hold their first meeting on Sunday at Bayou Bakery at 901 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. The meeting will take place at 2 p.m., and those interested in attending are encouraged to RSVP online. Spurgeon said the first meeting will give the neighbors a chance to articulate their various concerns and brainstorm ideas for how the group can take action.

Also on Sunday, Capitol Hill church The World Mission Society Church of God at 700 A St. NE will hold a public neighborhood watch and public safety fair. The fair will be held at 1 p.m., and will include a presentation from MPD First District Captain Mark Beach on neighborhood safety.

According to a press release from the church, security cameras around the church have caught several area robberies on video, leading to some arrests. However, representatives at the church said they wanted to do even more to combat crime around Capitol Hill.

“By uniting the community, we can turn our vulnerability into a strength by working hand-in-hand with our public safety officials to reduce future incidents and establish an active Capitol Hill neighborhood watch program,” church representatives said in the press release.

Additionally, the “Orange Hats,” a group that has done community safety walks in Hill East for more than 20 years invites neighbors to join their walk tonight at 8:30. The group starts their walks at the intersection of 14th and D streets SE.


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