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D.C. kicks off summer crime initiative

June 09, 2007
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D.C. kicks off summer crime initiative

By Allison Klein
The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — D.C. police chief Cathy L. Lanier and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty kicked off their summer crime initiative this morning, calling for "all hands on deck" to help patrol city streets.

Lanier said all 3,300 sworn officers will be working overtime this weekend as a show of force across the city and a team-building exercise for the department.

"We will be out in every community," Lanier said.

She said her strategy to deter summer crime is to "deploy our officers at the right place at the right time."

So far this year, there have been 75 homicides, compared with 66 at this time last year.

Lanier and Fenty held their news conference in Columbia Heights, near the spot where Terry Cutchin, 13, was slain Saturday night. It was the same block where a teenage girl had been shot the previous night.

That corner, 14th and Girard Streets, is one of several dozen street corners in the District that have neighborhood surveillance cameras as a crime-fighting tool. Lanier said five more are being installed this week, and 19 more are coming, for a total of 72 across the city.

More police officers will be walking beats east of the Anacostia River in the early morning. Patrols will pick up along the Southwest waterfront nightclub district, the scene of a recent killing. And in the Georgetown area, where a British activist was killed in a robbery last summer, a new squad on scooters will race to problem areas.

"It's time to stop letting the criminals outsmart us," Lanier said. "We've turned this into a thinking game."

Recent summers have brought surges not only in homicides but also robberies, car thefts and gang activity. Lanier's predecessor, Charles H. Ramsey, declared "crime emergencies" in three of the past four summers, a move that gave him more flexibility in changing officers' schedules and ordering them to work overtime.

Lanier said she is hoping to bring down crime this summer without declaring an emergency -- an approach she says will save money and boost morale. The extra police coverage that Ramsey ordered cost the department about $14 million in overtime last year. It will cost $1.3 million in overtime for all of the force's sworn officers to work 12-hour shifts this weekend.

Staff writer Clarence Williams contributed to this report.

Copyright 2007 The Washington Post

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