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The fear of calling 311/911

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  • Joseph Martin
    On one of the Ward 4 listservs, several people responded to the most recent discussion of residents fearing calling 311/911. I posted this response and thought
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2005
      On one of the Ward 4 listservs, several people
      responded to the most recent discussion of residents
      fearing calling 311/911. I posted this response and
      thought I should share it with a few other listservs.

      Again this week, I was reminded of the problem facing
      those of us who are working to make our neighborhoods
      safer. In a neighborhood potluck here in Petworth on
      Tuesday night, one senior who's been living here for
      several decades told me she won't call the police "for
      fear of retaliation by the drug dealers."

      I do not believe MPD is doing enough to address this,
      and I would like to hear the thoughts of of MPD

      I would suggest that MPD officers go door-to-door in
      more troubled areas, introduce themselves and pass out
      a flyer stating the importance of this. I and several
      people in my immediate neighborhood will assist MPD in
      this and walk with the officers in the areas where
      drug dealing is rampant -- as it is in too many areas
      in Petworth. I would urge others to do similarly in
      their own neighborhoods.

      I know for fact that not enough residents know
      officers by name. What can we do to change that?

      MPD also needs to address the notion that some
      residents hold onto dearly that some cops "benefit"
      from the drug dealing and that some cops reveal the
      identity of those who call 911/311 to the drug

      These beliefs are corrosive and need to be addressed

      I can't emphasize enough how much of a problem this is
      if we want to make our neighborhoods safer.

      For those residents willing to step up to the plate: I
      am making a point of telling anyone in my immediate
      neighborhood who fears calling 311/911 to call me so
      that I can call for them. If you feel comfortable
      doing that in your own immediate neighborhoods, please

      I was told by one elderly couple few months back that
      they would only call 911 if their own lives were at
      stake. If they heard something at the end of the
      block, heard someone screaming for help after hearing
      gunfire, they wouldn't call.

      How disturbing is that?

      Shades of an infamous case in Queens, New York in the
      spring of 1964 where Kitty Genovese was stabbed to
      death, screaming for help. There were 38 witnesses. No
      one did a thing. "I didn't want to get involved."


      Passivity is not an option.

      I urge everyone on this board to network with
      neighbors and try to figure out a solution to this. In
      some area, residents have set up telephone trees so
      that there are volumes of calls when needed.

      I also urge MPD not to be passive about working
      against the corrosive, destruction views that some
      residents seem determined to hold onto, regardless of
      facts unfortunately.

      Thanks for your time.

      Joseph Martin
      ANC 4C09 Commissioner
      202-309-1817 cell

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