When residents of Police Service Area 512 were confronted with abandoned buildings, a trash-strewn vacant lot, and loitering and drug activity that threatened children and neighbors around Miner Elementary School, the Northeast community did something very simple, but profound: they got organized and they got engaged in neighborhood problem solving.
Using the Metropolitan Police Department's "Partnerships for Problem Solving" process, residents and police developed a plan of action for the neighborhood. The team joined with Ward 6 Councilmember Sharon Ambrose to walk through the community and document problems. They enlisted city agencies to repair street lights and haul away garbage. PSA 512 officers not only stepped up patrols around Miner Elementary, but also came in on their own time to trim back trees that were obstructing lighting. And neighborhood youth and seniors formed a unique alliance to clean and beautify the community on a regular basis.
While their work isn't yet complete, the PSA 512 team has made impressive gains. Just as important, the group has formed a strong partnership for tackling future challenges. Their community policing success will be featured as Mayor Anthony A. Williams, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Chief of Police Charles H. Ramsey and various other community and government leaders join together Tuesday evening to kick off the District of Columbia's celebration of National Night Out .
|Tuesday, August 7, 2001 - 5 pm|
|Miner Elementary School |
601 15th Street, NE
- Mayor Williams
- Congresswoman Norton
- Chief Ramsey
- Councilmember Ambrose
- Brenda Artis
- Other community policing activists on PSA 512, business, government and civic leaders leaders
|Kick-off ceremony for DC's observance of National Night Out, including a cookout, live band, and games and activities. Across the District, a variety of neighborhood-based crime prevention activities will also take place Tuesday evening.|
Mayor Williams noted that this year's National Night Out celebration comes at a time of continuing crime reductions in the District. 2001 is the sixth consecutive year that crime is down in DC, including a 30 percent reduction in homicides through the first six months of the year.
"As our city celebrates the 18th Annual National Night Out, these statistics offer both hope and incentive to continue the fight. This is the time for police officers, other city workers and residents to renew our commitment to work together and to redouble our efforts for safer and healthier neighborhoods," the Mayor said.
The theme of the District's National Night Out 2001 celebration is "Working Together … Succeeding Together." Chief Ramsey said this theme reflects the importance of active and engaged communities working with the police to identify and solve neighborhood problems.
"The District of Columbia is filled with neighborhood heroes such as Brenda Artis, Lieutenant Michael Smith and all the members of the PSA 512 problem-solving group. It is their creativity and tenacity in tackling community crime problems that we celebrate during National Night Out, because it is their everyday victories against crime and disorder that are translating into safer streets and a better life for our children," the Chief said.
After the kickoff ceremony, PSA 512 celebrates its success with a neighborhood cookout, a live band, and a variety of games and entertainment for young and old. Examples of the group's work in and around Miner Elementary School will also be on display.
In PSAs across the District, a variety of neighborhood events - block parties, neighborhood walks, candlelight vigils, even a police-community softball game - will take place Tuesday evening, with Mayor Williams scheduled to stop by several of the celebrations. A complete list of National Night Out activities, organized by police district, can be found on the Police Department's Web site, www.mpdc.org . Residents may also call the MPD's Community Outreach Section, (202) 727-0783, for more information.
Sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch, National Night Out each year brings together more than 30 million people in approximately 10,000 communities nationwide to take part in "America's Night Out Against Crime." Residents who cannot participate in organized activities are still encouraged to turn exterior lights on and spend some time outside on the evening of August 7, as a show of solidarity against crime and for neighborhood safety.