Calling 311 and 911 and other tips
- I would like to respectfully recommend members of the 5D listserv read the below tips and notes.These were consolidated from a wide variety of meetings and seminars related to "crime and grime". These notes and suggestions are from those with experience in this area including a long term Block Captain, our own 5D Officers, from Police Service Area [PSA] meetings,our Community Outreach Coordinator, Citizen Advisory Counsel meetings, and guest speakers at reSTORE DC seminars.My own personal experiences after 2+ years in the city include moving across the street from a problem boarding/crack house, two or three other nuisance properties complete with loud parties and ex-convicts from a different angle out a different window, people lounging on my properly at 2AM, and a spree of breakins, and of course trash and other common complaints. Im happy to report *most* of these issues were dealt with or at least reduced.HOWEVER - this took a lot of hard work from many neighbors in conjunction with police and other agencies. Difficult problems do not solve themselves.The rest of the email are tips from "experts" NOT my opinion unless marked as such.Thank you for considering the content in the remainder of this email.Included are notes consolidated from a wide variety of meetings and seminars related to "crime and grime". These notes and suggestions are from those with experience in this area including a long term Block Captain, our own 5D Officers, our Community Outreach Coordinator, Citizen Advisory Counsel meetings, Police Service Area meetings, and guest speakers at reSTORE DC seminars.
• • •
Be ever Vigilant:
• The police cannot be everywhere all the times, but we as neighbors are. We see the crimes and criminals on our streets and in our alleys. We know what goes on in our neighborhood. Note all the details you can: call 911 for emergencies and 311 for non-emergency or after-the-crime calls.
• Don't assume the police already know or someone else has called it in! Even if its already called in, more calls track the severity or continue to add valuable information.
Calling 311 or 911:
• If you see a crime in progress – call 911. Say "crime in progress"- but only if it is. If a person is under attack – say so. Advise if there is a gun or lethal weapon –and if its being fired at a person or into the air. Advise which way they fled, if they have done so. Provide landmarks more specific than "in the alley" – i.e. by the red garage or the Pontiac on block.
• Note as many details about the thieves, especially features that won't change. Don't ignore their clothing, but a coat or outerwear may be "torn away" as they flee. Thieves tend to keep their favorite shoes. Any detail such as pants with pink stripe or shoes with red arrows give police something specific to look for. Note type, color, markings, etc. What kind of facial features do they have...long, round, fair, dark? Is their hair curly or straight? Note anything else that might identify them including, but not limited to, nose, forehead, lips, ears, scars, complexion, etc.
• After you call 311 or 911, write down anything and everything you see, and as many details as possible. Your memory will fade. One experienced Block Captain recommended to keep the written description. If the case should go to trial - it can be used so your memory will not be questioned.
• If the crime has already occurred or if it is a "nuisance crime" calling 311 should suffice.
• Call 311 or 911 for police related crimes or activities. Consider that all calls must be prioritized and your call may be of lower priority. All calls are recorded and entered into a database. If you have a private number – call 311 so the problem is continued to be logged in that database. Note: Call 727-1000 for other city service issues.
• Calling will help the appropriate agencies identify "hot spots" and will be used in abatement of nuisance properties. If you don't call, the appropriate agency will not know there is a problem or its magnitude.
• If you have any information you think may be useful –call 311. The dispatcher can direct you to the correct number if need be.
• Be as accurate as you can be – don't send the police to the wrong address.
Additional Details to provide:
• Do drug dealers have a pattern? Same time every day? Which way do they come from or direction do they leave? Any established pattern can be critical.
• Where do they hide their stash? Be specific i.e i. under the large dead bush on the nw corner of the property – not "behind the house" . Even if the dealers are not caught, ff the police can confiscate the drugs, the dealers may move on.
• Note that 311 and 911 are answered by trained dispatchers – not the police. Your accurate details are required so that calls can be prioritized. [personal note – its probably not the police's fault your 311 call is not responded to as fast as you'd like. They may not get the dispatch immediately, or it may be replaced by a more high priority call]
Note that just because you don't see the police doesn't mean they are not there. Particularly if your "problem" is under surveillance it may be unmarked cars cruising your streets.
• Get to know your local police officers. Get to know them before the crisis happens. They'll remember you if you introduce your self when they have time to say hello. Attend your PSA meetings, invite them to your neighborhood Block Party. When a crisis is underway the police just want to do their job.
• Join the MPD-5D listserv. Use it to distribute constructive tips on what or who to be on the look out for, or alerts to specific problems. Do not use the listserv in place of calling 911 or 311. Visit groups.yahoo.com/group/MPD-5D to sign up.
• If you have a private email address – still continue to use the 5D listserve. Details you send to an individual may delay action if that person is off shift.
• Do not distribute those tips or facts on open list serves – you never know who may be reading those.
• Attend your community meetings: the Civic association, PSA, and CAC meetings and get to know your police officers. Attend your PSA meeting and report back to your other neighborhood meetings. This will help keep the police on the street where we want them rather than in meetings.
• Keep your neighbors without email up-to-date. Print that alert from your MPD listserv or neighborhood email and slip it in their mailbox.
• Put your house address on the rear of your property. If a crime in progress or fire is reported "behind 123 YourStreet – the police or fire department need to find that address.
Help Prevent Crime:
• Remove "crimes of opportunity" Don't leave your purse, keys, or other valuables in sight or reach of a window or door. Don't leave items visible in your car, or your purse in the grocery cart, or your bike unsecured.
• Let your neighbor know when you will be gone. Offer to watch their house next time they are out of town. Don't let papers or mail stack up. Put lights on timers [newer timers have a "random" on and off within the programmed time frame].
• Be aware of your surroundings when driving: If someone is following you, keep driving. Drive to a lighted place, your local police department or until you are on longer being followed. Do not park at your house! Follow the same general rules if on foot.
• Do not use an outside ATM if possible. If you must, pay attention to motion and noise behind and around you. When possible use the ATM inside the bank or an entrance that requires the card to unlock the door. Secure your money before you leave.
- First order of business: please everybody remember to snip extraneous stuff from your
post, including replied messages and footers. Those of us who get the digest get a huge
long email full of junk if you don't.
Those are really fabulous tips, Sara. Thank you so much for sharing those. I think all of our
concerned neighbors need to remember that you will not clean up your neighborhood just
by making the occasional effort. You really need to get involved with the community and
the myriad of programs that are under-attended and insufficiently supported. Just calling
311/911 occasionally or following the very incomplete listserv is not enough.
One last tip I'd like to add to that very helpful list is to attend PSA/CAC meetings and to
get involved with community watch programs like Orange Hats and Neighborhood Watch. I
walk with the Brookland Orange Hats twice a week and will be forming a Neighborhood
Watch coalition in the near future. Tiresome and time-consuming? Yes. But in return, I
have close relationships with the police officers in my neighborhood, I am directly involved
with the apprehension of criminals and people who cause a nuisance, and I am never left
with a complaint and no one to complain to.
If you are interested in either forming or joining Orange Hat groups, please let me know. I
am not an authority figure, but I can direct you to someone who is. There are three groups
that I know of in our vicinity, including Brookland, NOMA (North of Michigan Ave.), and
Woodridge, so if you'd like to join one of these pre-existing groups, we'd love to have you.
If you are interested in Neighborhood Watch, please contact me as well. I am just in the
very beginning stages, but I can tell you how to start your own group, or if you live near
me, I'd love to have you as one of my charter members.
(10th and Douglas)
- Thank you for those who shed some more light on this intersection especially the one who lost her hairdresser and had a badly injured friend.
Firstly for MPD Authorities, I still have not gotten an answer regarding jaywalking. And I am confused by the signs that say something like "DC stops for pedestrians" How does that work if there are crossing lights/signals?
The time IS too short to cross the street especially for the differently abled, but some individuals are just impatient and/ or uninformed. I believe that some just don't bother or don't know that there is a button to make thier turn to cross more timely.
I constantly see children in the middle of the road while cars are speeding through from both directions. Sometimes they are accompanied by older children or adults who should know better.
For Ms. Edmonds: I know that you have forwarded this to the agency involved. I'm sure they are experts, but I would like to suggest that aside from lengthening the time for pedestrians to cross, larger signs should be placed to inform people that there is a button. And again, I would suggest enforcement/fines on both pedestrians and drivers.
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