Southeast DC neighbors, police meet to discuss neighborhood safety

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Concerns about crime in Southeast Washington DC kept around 200 people around for about 2 hours for a community meeting Monday night at St. Coletta of Greater Washington.

The meeting was called primarily because of a pair of shootings on 15th Street hours apart on November 19. Many residents also feel like local businesses are being targeted too often by teenagers.

Interim Police Chief Peter Newsham told the crowd that thefts are the only category of crime seeing a rise (1%) compared to last year. Violent crimes have seen an 8 percent drop. Homicides are down 20 percent in southeast according to statistics shared by police.

Newsham said in response to homicides, police take the opportunity to pull over suspicious cars in an attempt to search for illegal guns. Newsham told the crowd that 4 guns were recovered over the past two weeks-- 2 following pair of shootings on 15th Street and 2 following the slaying of 16-year-old Breyona McMillian at a housing complex the day after Thanksgiving.

Neighbors asked police and community leaders to do more to curb people simply hanging around their neighborhoods doing nothing. Police told the crowd that Washington DC doesn't have a loitering law that could help disperse people targeting homes and businesses ahead of crimes.

Neighbors also pushed police and the government for more cameras to help investigate thefts and get criminals caught.

ANC Commissioner Denise Krepp said those issues can be worked on. Krepp is hoping meetings like this one will also help neighbors come together to help police. Public safety leaders say they need people to share home surveillance video with them when there is a crime nearby and to call 911 when anything funny is going on to get police on scene as quickly as possible.