What's in a name?

What's in a name?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Heinous Crime: Preventable

Sadly, on 6 October 2011 was a tragic day in the District of Columbia.  Two lives were lost at the expenses of two different incidents involving automobiles. 
The first at 11AM,   Trudith Rishikof , 64, who is listed in online records as living in the 4200 block of Massachusetts Avenue NW, was struck by a 2008 Toyota Highlander as she crossed the street in the 3100 block of Connecticut Avenue about 11 a.m., said Officer Paul Metcalf, a spokesman. She was taken to a hospital, where she died.
The second in our neighborhood just before 4PM, now appears to have stemmed from anargument that later lead to one of the victims being purposely struck and ran over by a Jeep.
The driver whom as it is being reported by local news agencies, and witnesses told police the man was fighting with other men in the block and was chased into the street. Police think a Jeep deliberately ran over the man as he tried to escape the attackers, the officials said. Major crash is investigating. 
Sadly, the effects of communication from MPD yesterday pertaining to this incident was anything but acceptable.  It took well over 3 hours for Captain Hill to even post the incident to the list serve. At which time a look out was posted for the automobile that they are now looking for. Mind I say that in three hours this Jeep and the driver could be well out of the area,  and easily hidden out of sight.
Even as late as midnight last night only the media was calling this a homicide investigation leaving MPD absent from communicating this very important incident properly to the neighborhood. The very people that may have been able to identify the driver, the vehicle, or to share important details of what they may have seen. Now possibly lost is the availability for someone that may have seen something to realize what they were witnessing and the notice to report it on a timely basis.
With all the technology we now have, list serves, Tweeter, web pages and the like this lack of communication yesterday by MPD is less than acceptable. 
A life is lost and the chances of closure to what really happened and who was involved is lessened by the lack of communication.

This morning I received a startling email from an eye witness.  This witness tells me that MPD easily knew within minutes of their arrival to the scene that the vehicle that struck and killed the victim was clearly a Jeep.  The grill that was left behind had clear markings.  This intensify's the very debate as to how MPD handled the situation by now immediately putting word out for both other Districts and citizens alike to keep an eye out for A jeep missing it's front grill.  Could it have been possible that someone could have sighted this Jeep.  Absolutely ! 
Additionally, the very sequence of events on the 6th leads me to stress again the importance of more traffic safety from MPD.  Gone are the days that we should accept parking police cruisers and unmarked patrol cars on our streets staffed by officers being paid time and a half as they monitor cameras for speeders. Especially when most of us have gotten to recognize both the locations and the hours to expect this. 
Instead we need better use of these resources for such things as additional police officers in our neighborhoods during rush hour to cut down on aggressive driving from cut through commuters. Enforcement of stop signs in our neighborhoods. Arrests for public intoxication.  Additionally, we need more police on our streets in areas where gang violence has been prominent for years  As most of us know in the vicinity of Sherman Circle, NW, Crittenden Street, and the area that sits between Kennedy Streets Northwest have been plagued for years with too much of this resulting in numerous fights, shootings and more than our share of homicides.
Being a great admirer of MPD and one that has supported them and their projects in many ways for many years.  I realize well the needs of the department, and the struggles they endure.  But on the same token I know well when it is time to rearrange priorities, set new guidelines to effectively step up to the needs of the moment. And to help better protect our families and the 
very sanctity of neighborhoods. That time is now. 

We need a thorough re-thinking of our priorities when it comes to policing.  We need tore-emphasize neighborhood safety.  Revert if you will, to the Broken Window Theory 

 and step back and put our resources back in play to work on ground up strategy to assure that we are not over looking the smaller things in life that are leading to far more worse crimes.  

I am very happy that crime is down in the District of Columbia. This no doubt follows a national trend.  But we can never suggest that it has occurred without some of the best policing in the nation being conducted by our many MPD officers and the Command staff. Chief Lanier's leadership stands head and shoulders as top notch.   She is both educated, informed and in control.  The District's homicide closure rates are leading nationally,  and serious crimes are on the decline. Although we have less police officers than we have seen in years,  still in my opinion we have plenty enough officers to adequately cover our neighborhoods and our streets.  What we do need is simple deployment technique changes that will encase coverage with the problem areas. Officers should be assigned regular traffic observance shifts to cover problem areas, during problem times.  Staffing and supervision oversight should be intensified to assure that our officers,  all of them are where they are needed to be every hour during their shift. 
These simple adjustments could well benefit the overall safety in and around our homes.  
Finally,  it is necessary that every citizen take it upon themselves and in groups to become moreaware of the norm in and around their homes and businesses and to never hesitate to report any change that signals anything negative or improper.  To help do this we should all be out walking in groups more, in and around our homes.  Offering a positive force to the potential bad elements in and around our homes, our schools and our places we frequent. The last thing the criminal wants to be identified and to be caught.  Our eyes can play an important role in the daily crime fighting from the perspective of if you see something, and report it and put it in the hands of those we place in responsibility to do so much for all of our safety and protection. Our eyes are there even when MPD can't be.  
challenge everyone to do your part.  Citizens, District employees, and MPD. Together we can overcome every obstacle and in doing so become that city that shines bright and stands tall today and everyday. 

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