D.C. Mayor Marion Barry and Police Chief Burtell M. Jefferson unveiled yesterday a crime-fighting plan that includes the hiring of 75 new officers, increased lighting in high-crime areas, changes in police patrols, use of police decoys and greater participation by the community in solving crimes.
At a noon press conference attended by five City Council members, Barry described the plan as " the most carefully conceived, most comprehensive and most ambitious anticrime program ever developed for the District of Columbia." While Barry acknowledged that the plan includes some programs already in exsistance, he said the programs would be better coordinated under the new effort.
The number of reported crimes in the District increased 13 percent last year compared to 1979.
The plan, entitled "A Unified Program To Reduce Crime," drew immediate criticism from Local 442 of the International Brotherhood of [TEXT OMMITED] represents rank-and-file police officers. "He is depending a lot on society," said Larry Melton, vice president of the union. "In the past people have not demonstated a willingness to get involved. So in the past we have hired people to do the job . . . We have got to have more police officers," said Melton.
The 75 new police officers are the first hired since Congress ordered the city to increase its police force to 3,880 officers to the present 3,649. The city's continuing budget problems took some of the edge off Barry's plan to increase lighting in 44 different street locations in high-crime areas. The city Department of Transportation (DOT) noted in yesterday's D.C. Register that it intends to reduce street lighting in some high-crime areas to save money.
Jefferson said that police throughout the city will be altering their patrols in hopes of catching criminals in action.
The anticrime plan also calls for employees assigned to 18 city agencies to use 1,285 two-way radios in their vehicles to report crimes. He said that while these employees routinely do their jobs, they will be asked to alert police when they see crimes in progress.
The mayor, as he had previously done, also urged persons with unregistered handguns to surrender them to the police. However, he conceded that "criminals will not" give up their guns.
Jefferson said the police department plans to join WJLA-TVs "Crime Solvers Program," in which Montgomery, Prince George's, and Fairfax counties already participate. Under the program, the television station broadcasts information about a crime and persons with knowledge of the crime are urged to contact police on a special "crime solvers" hot line.
Barry said he has no idea how much the coordinated plan will cost.
But Jefferson cautioned, "You won't see any significant results overnight."