Weekend surge in D.C. police activity nabs 650 suspects

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON D.C.  The Metropolitan Police Department’s anti-crime initiative this weekend netted 650 arrests, more than twice the number of the average of the previous five weekends.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier launched the $1.3 million “All Hands on Deck” initiative as a way to jump-start the summer policing program to curb the seasonal spikes in violence and crime.

More than 3,300 officers worked at least eight hours of overtime. Hundreds patrolled the streets, while others were assigned tasks such as serving warrants, working sobriety checks or conducting prostitution stings.

While arrests went up, the number of crime reports decreased by 10 percent compared with the previous five weeks.

“It gave us a focus,” Lanier said. “It helped us to move the most violent people off the streets.”

Of the 650 arrests, 153 were for prostitution-related crimes; 118 for serious traffic offenses; 109 for narcotics; 89 for disorderly conduct; 11 for aggravated assault; nine for robbery; 14 for unauthorized use of a vehicle; nine for weapons; two for murder; and 20 for other felonies.

Forty-five were arrested from served warrants. Thirty-three were juveniles.

Lanier said she was most satisfied watching residents in Southeast Washington responding favorably to 200 recruits knocking on doors, asking neighbors what the District could do to make the streets safer.

Lanier said the police department won’t employ the same surge every weekend, but she would examine what strategies worked best and try them throughout the 3 1/2 months of the summer.

Lanier has vowed to make the police force proactive, rather than reactive.

Last summer, after the city saw 13 homicides in 11 days, including the slashing death of a British man in Georgetown, former Police Chief Charles Ramsey ordered a crime emergency that forced all police officers to work six days a week. The measure cost the District at least $14 million in overtime and put a strain on the police rank and file.

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