A few days ago, I spotted a car with no wheels in front of the Capital Memorial Church at 3150 Chesapeake Street, and it got me wondering where and how to report such a thing. I learned that 911 should be the first call.
What I did do was report the car to 311 and email photos to Second District Commander Melvin Gresham. He emailed me back to let me know he searched the license plate and discovered the car had been stolen, and the owner had been contacted.
Gresham also told me he was surprised he had received only one report on this car – and it was mine. This car had sat all weekend in front of a church that hosts services on Saturdays and Sundays, and is next door to a busy park that draws many parents and dogwalkers in the neighborhood.
Commander Gresham was also surprised that none of his officers had spotted this car. I told him that I have not seen a police presence on Chesapeake. He said that he would heighten police presence in this area.
Again, you should call 911 to report any crime or suspicious activity as in this example. However, you can also contribute to the neighborhood safety by dialing 311.
I have been walking around at night and have been finding a lot of streets lights out. I called 311 to report three out on Brandywine between Linnean and 30th Street. I had gone out the next day to get the addresses, and I found out in the call that I could have also provided the number of the light pole. Either works.
Light plays a role in reducing crime. They also make our sidewalks safer for cyclists, help pedestrians better see hazards in their path, and give better visibility so drivers can better to avoid both.
So again, here is my advice. Call 311 or visit 311 online at 311.dc.gov when you notice something is not working in the neighborhood, and call 911 to report a crime or suspicious activity. Also, talk to police officers when you see them out and about in the community. Community policing works bet if we get to know our officers and allow them get to know us. We all have an important role to play in keeping our neighborhood safe.