Recently Brookland area crimes have been in the news and the topic of discussion among neighbors and on listservs. Commander of MPD’s 5th district, Andy Solberg, addressed these concerns at last night’s Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association (BNCA) meeting; along with officers Bernat, Kaine and Wright of Patrol Service Area 504. There were roughly 45 residents in attendance and overall, we were informed that crime is actually down in the 5th District over the last 30, 60, and 90 days. Although assaults with dangerous weapons and sexual assaults are slightly up, all other crime categories down. Other good news is that there have been no recent incidents on the Met Branch Trail. Nonetheless, three types of crime seem to be of most concern to Brooklanders:
- Shotgun robberies – Between Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, there were 5 armed robberies where the victims were threatened with a shotgun. The suspect is a tall (about 6’1), thin, African-American male. Sometimes the suspect acted alone and other times with accomplices. These crimes were alarming since usually smaller hand guns are used in robberies and guns are not normally pointed directly at victims, as was the case in these robberies. Commander Solberg explained that his response was to deploy evening area officers in the areas where the crimes occurred in addition to 15 undercover officers patrolling the area. In the 16 days since the last shotgun robbery, no similar crime has occurred and they have not made any arrests related to these robberies. No similar crime has happened recently in DC or in Prince George’s County either.
- Robberies – On Friday there was an attempted robbery and a robbery at 9th and 7th and Monroe Streets. On Saturday there was an attempted robbery at 10th and Evarts Streets. Tuesday morning there was a robbery near the Brookland Metro. These crimes may be related.
- Home Burglaries – For example, a recent one on Jackson Street at 3 am.
The officers offered up tips to avoid being a crime victim, including:
- Don’t walk while using a gadget like a smart phone. This sends the message to criminals that you have something of value and you not paying attention to your surroundings.
- Walk home with someone else. People walking alone, especially women, are targeted most.
- Walk like you have a purpose and try to stay in well-lit areas.
- Be aware of your surroundings, criminals are looking for an easy target.
- At home, close your blinds, and lock doors.
Lieutenant Bernat described the steps being taken to prevent crime around the neighborhood. For example:
- Constant patrols on 10th and 12th Streets NE, and the Brookland Metro.
- Midnight and 1:00 am patrols of parks (18th and Otis Street park, Langdon Park) where loitering and drinking occur.
- Increased presence on 10th Street NE near Turkey Thicket.
- Engaging with business owners.
- Cracking down on college parties. There is a new “noise at night” law that prohibits unreasonable noise from 10 pm – 7 am. On the first offence, student names are reported to CUA’s Dean. On the second strike the student must pay a fine or their grades are withheld.
Lastly, the officers shared advice if you are a victim of a crime or suspect a crime is occurring:
- If you have a smart phone, enable the tracking feature. This way if it is stolen officers can locate it, and hopefully the thief, if the phone hasn’t been turned off.
- Call 911 if you see anything suspicious or feel uncomfortable about a situation. Do not worry that it is a bother for the police to respond. By calling, it creates a record, when they see a spike in related calls, they can allocate resources there. Also, you don’t have to give your name.
Residents are encouraged to contact Lieutenant Bernat if you have any questions or concerns, he can be reached at (202) 359-4240 or Edward(dot)Bernat(at)dc(dot)gov. Many thanks to the BNCA for putting together an informative meeting and to the 5th District officers for answering the community’s questions.