A Summer Crime Initiative is underway in the District of Columbia to help curb the increase in violent crime that tends to occur throughout cities during warmer months. The summer initiative includes mandatory overtime for officers, as well as 12-hour shifts of street patrol. According to the D.C. police chief, the first weekend of the initiative resulted in a 10 percent dip in crime rates. Neighborhood activists also praised the initiative for creating a high profile presence for police officers and sending a message that the police department is responsive to community concerns. The summer crime-fighting plan relies on proactive patrols and other tactics developed after analyzing a pattern of crime trends for the past five years.
If you’re out and about in the city this summer, the Metropolitan Police Department offers the following advice to keep you from becoming the target of robbery or assault:
“Personal Safety Tips on the Street
- If possible, don’t walk alone during late-night hours. Walk in groups whenever you can—there is always safety in numbers.
- Let a family member or friend know your destination and your estimated time of arrival or return. That way, the police can be notified as quickly as possible if there is a problem.
- Stay in well-lit areas as much as possible. Avoid alleys, vacant lots, wooded areas, and other short-cuts or secluded areas. They are usually not well-lit or heavily traveled.
- Walk on the sidewalk whenever possible. Walk close to the curb, avoiding doorways, bushes, and other potential hiding places.
- If you have to walk in the street, walk facing traffic. A person walking with traffic can be followed, forced into a car, and abducted more easily than a person walking against traffic.
- Walk confidently, directly, and at a steady pace. Don’t stop to talk to strangers.
- Wear clothing and shoes that give you freedom of movement. And don’t burden yourself with too many packages or items.
- Always be aware of your surroundings. If you are wearing headphones, don’t turn up the volume so high that you cannot hear outside noises.
- Never hitchhike or accept rides from strangers.
- Report any suspicious activity or person immediately to the Metropolitan Police Department at 3-1-1. Or, if it is an emergency, dial 9-1-1.
- Avoid carrying large sums of cash, or displaying expensive jewelry in public.”
To stay safe on the metro transit system, in particular, the Metro Transit Police Department offers the following tips:
“Late Night Travel Tips:
- Travel with someone you know.
- Stand near other passengers when waiting for a train or Metrobus
- If you feel uncomfortable, move near other people or look for a Metro employee for assistance.
- Ride in a rail car occupied by other people or sit in the first car where the train operator is located.
- Be alert to your surroundings.
Protect Your Electronic Device:
- Carry your electronic device in a pocket or a place where it is not easily seen or in easy reach of others.
- Be smart about when and where you use your electronic device.
- Change the color of your ear piece so that it does not readily suggest you carry an expensive electronic device.
- Avoid sitting or standing near the doors of rail cars or Metrobuses.
Report suspicious behavior and objectionable conduct immediately:
- Call the Metro Transit Police at (202) 962-2121
- On a Metrobus, tell the operator.
- In a station, use the emergency telephones located on platforms to talk to a station manager.
- In a rail car, use the emergency intercoms located at both ends of the rail car to talk to the train operator.”