D.C. Has Weekend Free of Shootings
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
D.C. police made more than 400 arrests and violent crime dropped sharply during the latest installment of All Hands on Deck, a program that put about 3,500 officers on the streets last weekend, officials said.
Although many neighborhoods have been dealing with increases in homicides and other crimes, there were no slayings or shootings in the city over the weekend, said Assistant Police Chief Diane Groomes, who oversees patrol operations. There were two serious stabbings, but neither was fatal, she said.
"It's been a while since we had no shootings," Groomes said, crediting the extra police presence for curtailing the usual weekend gunfire.
Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier began All Hands on Deck in June, increasing police presence in concentrated time periods in hopes of deterring crime and improving community relations. Most officers worked a pair of eight-hour shifts between Friday and Sunday mornings, including many who usually are assigned to desk duties.
Lanier also had 170 police recruits knocking on doors to introduce themselves and going into businesses to check on owners and employees. It was Lanier's fifth and final All Hands on Deck for the year. All told, officers netted about 2,400 arrests during the program.
The 419 arrests this weekend included two in homicide cases, five for robberies or carjackings, six for aggravated assaults and 10 for firearms violations. Police also made 88 arrests for traffic violations, 74 for drug crimes, 56 for disorderly conduct and 43 for prostitution.
Over the weekend, officers also seized about $94,000 in cash and about $52,000 worth of drugs.
Last year, during the same time period, police made 300 arrests.
Lanier and Groomes said the department is fine-tuning the deployment. Earlier efforts used about 2,700 officers because not everyone on patrol was called upon to participate. This time, Groomes said, 800 additional officers were tapped.
D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) said it was unusual to have a weekend without shootings in his ward, which includes Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights and lower Georgia Avenue NW, where gang rivalries have been blamed for a spurt of recent violence.
"I favor whatever provides us more police," Graham said. "For us, more police is simply better. It makes a difference. It assures the neighborhood and prevents crime."
So far this year, homicides across the city have increased 14 percent, armed robberies are up 25 percent and shootings and other assaults with guns have risen 9 percent, according to preliminary figures. Lanier has cautioned that the department's record-keeping could be off by as much as 10 percent because of continuing problems with databases.