Thursday, August 21, 2008

Recap of the neighborhood meeting

Pretty good meeting, I must say. I counted about 50 neighbors, MPD chief Cathy Lanier, councilmember Jim Graham, other police from the Third District, Neicy Jones, the woman who manages the Faircliff, and the Fire Chief (who unfortunately they didn't get to).

The main thing I got from the meeting was confidence in Neicy Jones. She took over management in January of this year, and was very serious about what she was doing - "committed to getting the bad apples out," she said. She said they were doing a lot to stop crime in her facilities - there are three Faircliffs, west, which is at the NW corner of 14th and Fairmont, East, which is the SE corner of 14th and Fairmont, and one on Euclid/Clifton, not sure exactly. She talked about the security guards, who are always on patrol, and that they have cameras which are constantly being monitored.

She also said she's doing a lot to root out the bad folks. She said that since it's a HUD property, she can't just kick out people, she must go through a multiple strikes process, but said she's already kicked out three families. She's also working on eviction for another (the ones who attacked the police) and three or four more are on watch. She also said that whenever anyone renews their annual leases, she's running criminal background checks on them, and if they've done something in the last year, she won't renew their leases. She and the security guards (who are actually the ones who caught the shooter) meet with MPD regularly, and they have a bulletin board with photos of drug dealers for residents to call when they see them. She also said if anyone has concerns to contact her, ejones(at)eaglepointco.com. I was really impressed by her, and I think she's doing all she can.

The MPD chief spoke next, mainly about violent repeat offenders, and how it's hard to get rid of them - often they plea bargain down or get put out on the street by judges, she said "if I sound frustrated, I am." A couple ladies kind of went off on her, saying they witnessed MPD officers taking pictures of kids and cussing them out, and the chief got really mad when they were saying things like every MPD officer does that. She told them she'd talk to them afterwards. She also said she wanted to focus on mothers in the city as a way to stop crime, as they are often pretty important.

And another woman who lives in the Faircliffs said some of the crime comes from people who are hanging out there but don't live there, and that the good people are as fed up with it as the rest of the neighbors. She said they call security a lot about drug dealing and such.

The other MPD folks declined to give a lot of details on the shooting incident, other than it was "very targeted" at certain people, they caught the shooters and the people who attacked the police, and gave our their email addresses for people to contact them. They also said that although a big crowd assembled, only a few people attacked the police, and only one had a baseball bat - they were all arrested. They also said make sure to call 911 for anything, even people doing drugs in the alley. The 3D commander, George Kucik, said in response to a question that police may not show up to things like doing drugs because they have higher priorities (violent crime, robbery etc) but that they still get logged into the system, so it helps them see patterns. He also gave out some contact info for questions or concerns: he's george.kucik(at)dc.gov, the PSA lieutenant for roughly 16th to Georgia, Harvard to Florida is Deborah Pearce, deborah.pearce(at)dc.gov, and the drug person is christopher.avery(at)dc.gov. If you live elsewhere and want email addresses, let me know.

All in all, good meeting.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the report! I am curious: what was the racial composition of the attendees?

For example, when we had a street clean up thing, not a single black person showed up.

Our kid went to a community playgroup/morning day care thing... were cheap - yet, not a single black kid there.

Fonzy said...

Good reporting NCH. I hope the walk is as good as the talk from Niecy.

bmwwyo said...

Only my second community meeting, but much...much better attended than the first. A good mix of the community (at least one Faircliff resident showed - she had friends with her, so I'm guessing there were others).

Also good to know that 83% of those who voted (no idea if all in attendance cast their votes) to ask Councilman Graham to support a ban of 40 oz singles.

Though I suspect the issue would not have drawn as big a crowd had there not been the shooting...

And definitely agree - huge kudos to both Chief Lanier and Neicy Jones (Graham was his typical political self). They both are working to clean up the 'hood.

Mr T in DC said...

Thanks for this reporting on the meeting. So many people can't attend them due to work/school schedules, travel, etc. Appreciate it!

Anonymous said...

I was surprised that there weren't more Faircliff residents there.

The meeting did almost go off the rails when one of the locals said that the police were harassing her son constantly and that she feared the police more than the local thugs. At least the chief had the stones to back up the local cops and the local LT the sense to address the situation privately in order to keep the meeting on track.

Tmoney said...

Just wanted to add my thanks for the great recap!

Anonymous said...

"she feared the police more than the local thugs."

Jeeshh..