WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — The DC Police Department is trying to address the rise in crime around some of the district’s bar and restaurant corridors.
“If you go down to U Street during those hours, you will see the tow trucks, the TCOs, ABRA, and you will see MPD, you will see the fire department,” Assistant Chief of Police Morgan Kane explained. “So the difference is you will see the absolute whole of government playing their part in this nightlife task force.”
Community members had mixed responses about the task force and public safety, especially among those enjoying the restaurants and bars here in the district.
Lisa Jones-Parra said, “Crime is running rampant I follow the app to show where crime occurs, and things are happening all over. Places where you used to feel safe they’re not safe anymore.”
“I feel safe here. It’s not any worse, I think than in other places on a per capita basis,” D.C. resident Randy Veitenheimer said.
The nightlife task force has been out at the three corridors along U St, 8th St, and Connecticut Ave over the last three weekends. The task force is looking to work not only with other government agencies but also with local businesses, all to alleviate some of the problems.
Assistant Chief Kane explained that MPD and local businesses are going to meet on Friday night to get their input on the task force over the last few weeks.
“We want to hear back from them. What are some of your strategies, and then how can you help us keep this corridor safer? How can you operate your business so that you’re also contributing to public safety?” Kane said. “We’ll take that over to the eighth street, and we’ll take that over to Connecticut Ave as well.”
One person told me he thinks creating a perimeter around popular areas could make them safer after seeing similar measures implemented in the Kansas City bar district.
Greg Watkins, who moved to Dupont Circle just over a year ago, recalls safety measures that were put into place in Kansas City after incidents, specifically gun violence, started to increase.
“To enter the bar district, you had to enter through metal detectors. As a result, people started going out to bars more often. It increased business in the area,” Watkins said.
Assistant Chief Kane says preliminary data from the first few weeks of this pilot program had shown a decrease in crime despite the weekend shootings.