About noon yesterday, the woman answered a knock on her front door on Horbart Street NW and found D.C. police officer Rudolp Best standing on the porch.
The woman, who has lived at the address for more than 20 years and was a burglary victim last year, listened as Best explained that he was taking part in a crime prevention survey of Washington's Mount Pleasant and Adams Morgan areas.
After asecurity inspection of her home that took an hour to complete, Best found at least 6 ways a burglar could enter the home, despited the fact that the front door is secured by two heavy-duty security locks.
"I was shocked and pleased at the same time," the woman said after the inspection. "Shocked that my home could be entered so easily, and pleased that the police would spend so much time helping me out."
The home is one of 995 business and private addresses in Mount Pleasant and Adams Morgan that D.C. 4th District police are concentrating on this summer as part of a crime prevention program. The area is home for nearly 3,000 families, many of them Spanish speaking.
The project, which started yesterday and is expected to last throughout the summer, consists of 10 specially trained police officers going into people's homes and businesses, inspecting them, and advising the occupants how to lesses their chances of becoming crime victims. According to police officials, burglary is the major crime problem in the two areas.
Last summer a similar crime prevention project in the "gold coast" area of upper 16th Street NW contributed to a 73 percent drop in burglary attempts in the area this year.
"People should understand that this is a free security inspection," Police Chief Burtell Jefferson said. "In order to attack the crime problem, our first effort should be to concentrate on the prevention of the crime problem."
This summer's canvass is taking place in an area bounded by Harvard Street NW on the south, Park Road NW on the north, Mount Pleasant Street NW on the east and Rock Creek Park on the west. As part of a free identification program, 4th District police also are offering to engrave televisions, stereos and other valuables with the Social Security numbers of the owners.
The 10 officers primarily are pinpointing weak spots in home security. These range from overgrown shrubbery in front of residences, where burglars might lurk in the dark to insecure basement doors and windows.
The officers will make security suggesting to the business and home-owners and will return from time to time during the summer to see whether the tenants have acted on their advice.
"It's a wonderful thing that the police think enough of the community to help us before the crime," said a woman who immigrated from Chile four years ago and lives on Hobart Street. She was even more pleased that the inspection officer, Harold Bynum, was fluent in Spanish.
,'Good relations between police and the community," she said, "can cut down the crime problem.