As part of a community empowerment program, D.C. police have launched a $10,000 crime prevention campaign that uses businesses to deliver the message.
About 100,000 pamphlets on crime prevention and personal safety are being distributed by 500 businesses in the District. The pamphlets offer tips for people to protect their businesses, property and selves.
Police Chief Isaac Fulwood Jr., joined by other high-ranking officials and about a dozen community and business activists, unveiled the plan at a news conference last week. "Crime prevention is the key to community safety," Fulwood said.
Fulwood's community empowerment program began earlier this year with test projects in the 1st and 7th Districts, where police have augmented foot patrols and appointed officers to act as liaisons to the community.
"The idea is to get officers back out on the street, where they can talk to individual citizens," Fulwood said.
In the 1st District, Deputy Chief Gary L. Abrecht said the program includes 21 squad cars, but also assigns 10 officers to foot patrols. A recent 1st District community meeting drew more than 250 residents, a sign of public support, Abrecht said.
Fulwood said the effectiveness of the two test programs is being monitored by experts at George Washington University. The plan is to expand the approach to all seven districts, assigning many officers hired in the past year to foot patrols.
The crime prevention pamphlets, paid for with private and police money, will be delivered to businesses by police during the next 30 days in display kits that say: "You are the key."
"It's just an attempt to get a broader network, to reach deeper in the community," said Kay McGrath, an assistant to Fulwood and coordinator of the project.
Tips for businesses include guidelines on identifying suspects and a list of common criminal techniques used in shoplifting.
Tips on personal safety caution against wearing clothes that restrict movement and advocate force only as a last resort. Instead, the pamplets say, a "jab to the throat or eyes or a swift kick to the knees may gain you a few minutes to get away or attract help."