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There was an alarming amount of violence in the streets of Columbia Heights over Halloween night. Councilmember Jim Graham responded to the violence with a message this morning.
Message From Councilmember Jim Graham
Positive Crime Solutions After A Rough Night Of Violence
Dear Friends: Last night was a tough night for our neighborhoods...with an armed car jacking, one homicide, four wounded two critically, another wounding on Sherman Avenue, robberies ... more robberies.
Celery we need additional solutions to the crime problems we are facing. What is being done now is not as successful as we need.
But we are at work on other solutions. Briefly, here they are:
1) GANG INTERVENTION: Following my suggestion 10 days ago, we have had two very positive meetings on taking the successful model on gang interventions that we have for Latinos, and extending it to African American crews. We have some preliminary commitments from MPD leadership.
2) BETTER TECHNOLOGY: I have asked Mayor Fenty to provide 3D with Shotspotters, so we can have better technology to fight crime by identifying the area from which shots are being fired. We have also got to replace the current cameras with others that are more versatile, and more effective. What we have now is very high tech but also very rigid and of limited utility. Better--though not necessarily more expensive cameras--can be a helpful crime fighting tool.
3) MORE POLICE, GREATER POLICE PRESENCE: Steps have recently been taken to improve foot patrols. But Chief Lanier now has from the Council the authority for 350 additional officers. They should be hired as soon as possible while keeping quality standards high. In eth meantime, police have got to be assigned where they are needed. Right now, the escalating level of violence in our Ward calls for a significant increase in police presence.
4) TOUGH ACTION ON BARS THAT HAVE A PATTERN OF ATTRACTING CRIME AND VIOLENCE: I respectfully disagree with the decision that Chief Lanier made over the weekend. I had called upon her to use her emergency powers to shut down El Salvadoreno, on 14th Street at Parkwood, after still another stabbing. We must continue to send a clear message that we mean business in this regard...not on an single event of serious crime, but when there is present a clear pattern of a bar that draws violence to its premises. Such is the case with El Salvadoreno. As recently as about a year ago, its license was suspended for 60 days (30 days stayed) as a result of 12 crimes over a prior 18 month period.
In all of this, we are not by any means overlooking the root causes of crime, and need to engage our young people in meaningful ways...especially when they are very young. And also, in providing job and training opportunity for a better life.
But right now, we are facing a very serious set of challenges. One shooting tends to give rise to more, as revenge is sought.
Chief, we need these new approaches right away.
Bests CM Jim Graham