The streets of Georgetown, where several violent incidents last weekend provoked an outcry, were quiet last night as police deployed additional officers on overtime amid crowds that appeared considerably smaller than usual.
Several merchants interviewed suggested that the crowds had been reduced by a combination of last night's rain and publicity about the disorderly incidents.
"It's very slow," said Alan Davis, owner of the Shoe Inn.
"I'm disappointed . . . . This is usually a real hot night for us," said another merchant, Maurice Weaver, manager of Nash's Sports & Casuals.
Several attacks on pedestrians, as well as injuries to police officers trying to make arrests in the midst of unruly crowds, were reported last Saturday night and Sunday morning in Georgetown, one of the area's principal late-hour shopping and entertainment centers.
Normally 50 additional officers would have been assigned to the area on weekend overtime, but the police department said it had run out of money for the patrols.
After reports of the incidents, police announced the restoration of the patrols at about half strength.
The 25 additional officers deployed around Wisconsin Avenue and M Street NW were highly visible last night; as of late evening there were no reports of disorder.
Members of the Guardian Angels, a civilian crime-fighting group, were also present last night.
Their leaders said merchants and restaurateurs, whom they did not identify, had asked them to patrol.
However, Ray Browne, chairman of the public safety committee of the Georgetown Advisory Neighorhood Commission, said his group was opposed to the presence of the Angels.
He voiced confidence in the police and expressed concern that the Angels could increase the volatility of the situation.