This morning MPD District 5 Commander Solberg sent out the message below via Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association (BNCA) president Tom Bridge, in response to our petition to increase police forces in Brookland. At that point, we only had 65 signatures. I know, like, and respect Commander Solberg. But, at this point it is clear that criminals are exhibiting brazen behavior in our neighborhood. If the “crime patrols” that Commander Solberg describes where enough, 5 masked gunmen would not have felt confident enough to rob a 12th Street business at 8:00 pm on a Friday night.
However, the issue of adequate police coverage is really out of his hands. Commander Solberg can only work with the amount of officers he is given by MPD Chief of Police Cathy Lanier and Mayor Gray. That’s why it is so important that we stay on top of this. Lets continue to clog the inboxes of these decision makes with our petition. Please share this petition with your neighbors and sign it if you haven’t done so. The spike in crimes that we have seen would not be acceptable in other neighborhoods, and it shouldn’t be accepted here. Also, please consider showing up at the next BNCA meeting – MPD Lieutenant Durand will be on hand. The meeting will be at 7:00 pm on February 18th and Howard Divinity School, 1400 Shepard Street NE in the Faculty Dining Room, (Basement Level, room 78). Here is the petition, it takes a few seconds to fill out and will land directly in these decision maker’s email inboxes.
- Executive Office of the Mayor, Vincent Gray
- Ward 5 Councilmember McDuffie
- Chair, Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, Councilmember Tommy Wells
- MPD Chief of Police, Cathy Lanier
- MPD District 5 Commander, Andy Solberg
- ANC5B 01 Commisioner Shirley Rivens-Smith
- ANC 5B-02 Commissioner Ursula Higgins
- ANC 5B-03 Michael Morrison
- ANC 5B-04 Commssioner Carolyn C. Steptoe
- ANC 5B-05 Commissioner Jenese L. Jones
As I am sure you are aware, there has been a recent uptick in crimes in the Brookland neighborhood of North East DC. Two of these, the “smash and grab” theft of an ATM at the CVS, and armed robbery at Silvestre Cafe at 3601 and 3000 12th Street NE, respectively, were particularly coordinated and brazen. All tolled, there have been at least five burglaries or robberies of 12th Street businesses in the last 7 months, and just over a half mile apart. Without a noticeable, proactive, sustained and increased police presence, on and around our commercial district, the perpetrators of these crimes will get the message that Brookland businesses continue to be easy targets.
For Brooklanders, the night of December 18, 2010, when Newton Foodmart owner Raj Patel was killed in a botched robbery is etched in our consciousness. We will not stand idly by while our neighbors and those that have invested in our community are threatened and robbed with deadly weapons.
I stand with my fellow neighbors and the businesses of the Brookland’s main street, 12th Street NE, in asking you to do everything in your power to address the unsolved crimes that have taken place in our neighborhood and increase the presence of MPD officers on our streets.
Brookland Residents Request Increased Police Presence
Read the petition
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Commander Solberg’s response:
As you are President of the Brookland Civic Association, I would like to ask that you relay my message below to the over 65 people who have sent the identical email to the group here. It would take me too long to reply to each sender; I would much appreciate it if you can post the reply to the Brookland listserv, or to any other organizations whose members may be among those posting this message. Perhaps the ANC commissioners also included here can help to spread this reply.
The incident involving the theft of the ATM at the CVS reflects a trend that DC and PG County have seen recently. A group (or groups) of men uses a pickup truck or van, usually recently stolen, to make off with the stolen machine. MPD and Maryland police have found a few of these stolen vehicles, in some cases with the machine still inside. While there has been video recorded of some of the thefts, we have not identified any suspects or made any arrests.
The robbery this past Friday night at Silvestre Café on 12th Street also is not solved. In this case, a group of men wearing masks and carrying handguns entered the restaurant about 7:45 pm and robbed people inside. We believe we have recovered the van they used as their getaway vehicle, but we have not yet processed it.
I understand that these two crimes, and the burglaries you mention in this message, cause worry and concern. I want to reassure all of you that we do, and will continue, to patrol the 12th Street Business corridor and the residential community.
We have officers who are dedicated to walking and patrolling the community as specific “crime patrol” officers whose main mission each day is to provide the type of proactive response the community is asking for. We have officers on each shift whose job this is, and I know that many residents and business owners know and interact with them on a regular basis.
I also want to point out that the Fifth District led the city in crime reduction in 2013, and PSA 504 showed a reduction in most property crime categories, with, unfortunately, an increase in burglaries in 2013. We have taken steps to address the increase in burglaries in PSA 504, and there are officers who work in a burglary task force during the hours we see most of our burglaries, which is during the week when many people are at work and away from their homes.
We will continue to work hard to address all the concerns mentioned below, and I am confident that our downward-trending crime pattern will continue in 2014.