D.C. Police Chief Burtell M. Jefferson expressed concern last week that proposed cuts in the District budget will force the police department to trim personnel, thus reducing the effectiveness of the department.
If the cuts proposed by the House Appropriations subcommittee are allowed to stand, Jefferson told members of the D.C. Federation of Civic Associations, there also would be an increase in the "already staggering" number of unemployed persons in the city, and that likely would result in an increase in crime.
Although the city's crime rate jumped 23 percent during the first three months of 1979, compared to the same months last year, Jefferson said that he was "happy to report" a decline in those figures for April.
He attributed the high crime rate for the first quarter to a number of factors, including loss of police services when the farmers were camped on the Mall and again during the school strike when officers were assigned to the schools rather than to their regular beats.
After Jefferson's talk, a number of federation delegates expressed concern about the crime rate in the 6th District, an area bounded by Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Southern Avenue SE, Division Avenue NE, Eastern Avenue NE and Rte. 295.
The 6th District experienced a 33 percent increase in crime during the first quarter of 1979.
Jefferson assured the delegates that there is a sufficient number of police assigned to the 6th District and that there has been "just a slight increase in the daily number of offenses" committed there. He said that last year the 6th District averaged 11 crimes per day. This year the average is 12 1/2.
He also told the audience that if they had valid complaints about the police protection, they should contact the deputy chief in charge of their district.
"If you don't get the satisfaction at the district level, you write me and I'll guarantee that youget that action," he said.
After Jefferson left, the federation agreed to write a letter to the Senate urging it to restore some of the budget cuts proposed by the House subcommittee.
The federation also voted to write letters to the mayor and the City Council asking them to send earlier notices of public hearings. According to provisions of the Home Rule Charter, the council is required to give 30 days notice of upcoming public hearings. Members of the federation claimed that they rarely are given this much notice.
In other action, the federation approved an amendment to its constitution to allow its president to run for a third consecutive term. Since the 1930s, federation presidents have been allowed to serve only two consecutive terms, according to the constitution.