Washington, DC, Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier has decided to take steps to prevent the usual spike in violence that occurs in the summer months in the DC Metro area. Chief Lanier has been working with police districts to analyze crime data from the last five years and identify trends. This is not only helping police to identify hot spots, but it allows them to see when crime has occurred. Chief Lanier plans to put all 3,300 sworn officers on overtime this weekend.
These precautions are being taken partly in preparation for the anticipated summer rise in crime and partly in response to recent crimes. This past weekend, one teen was slain on the same block where another girl was shot the night before in the Columbia Heights area. During a festival held in the North Capitol area on Memorial Day, three people were shot.
During the summer months, officers not only see an increase in homicides (74 so far this year, compared with 64 at this time last year), but also in gang activity, burglaries, and car thefts. Police have been speaking with community activists to identify neighborhood concerns. Commanders are working to have officers present in spots where crimes are likely to occur. Chief Lanier would like to reduce crime this summer without having to declare a crime emergency, something that her predecessor, Chief Charles Ramsey, did.
It gives me hope to know that Chief Lanier is working to not only respond to crime occurring now, but to work proactively to identify where crimes have occurred in the past and to find ways in which to prevent them from occurring in the future.