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Safe City

Safe City logo

Establishing a Safe City Project in Washington’s Trinidad Neighborhood 

Washington, DC, a city with countless attractions and historical sites, also houses a vibrant community with culturally diverse neighborhoods. One of Chief of Police Cathy Lanier’s guiding principles is to make good relationships between the Metropolitan Police Department and the City’s neighborhoods paramount — tailoring policing to each neighborhood. Chief Lanier understands each of the city’s neighborhoods is unique, and often a law enforcement response is insufficient to resolve the long term problems plaguing any one neighborhood.

One such District neighborhood, Trinidad, is a high crime area and is in dire need of increased law enforcement and community outreach programs. Trinidad and its residents will benefit greatly through a set of discrete proposed initiatives. To accomplish these goals, the Metropolitan Police Department, DC Police Foundation, Target Corporation, Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, civic leaders, and DC area businesses have established the DC Safe City Partnership to make the Nation’s Capital one of the safest communities in America.

The CCTV Program

Objective:  Deploy a Neighborhood-based CCTV network in the Trinidad neighborhood to reduce crime and the fear of crime.

The Metropolitan Police Department’s use of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) is designed to enhance the safety of residents of the District of Columbia while providing for protection of personal privacy rights. The Department’s CCTV network provides video images of public spaces only, and the cameras are not equipped with audio overhear capabilities. The presence of CCTV cameras in our city’s neighborhoods has indeed increased public safety. In 2007, violent crime within 250 feet of our cameras decreased by 19 percent compared to 2006. This is a significantly better performance than the comparison areas, all of which showed a 1 percent increase in violent crime in 2007. In addition, calls for police service in camera areas decreased 10–11 percent more than in other areas of the city. The fewer calls for police services may be another indicator the CCTV system is contributing to a reduction in crime.

The CCTV system can act as a “force multiplier,” adding extra eyes in public areas throughout the District. This capability allows MPD to enhance public safety without diminishing neighborhood police patrols or community policing efforts. The CCTV system has successfully enabled MPD to maintain a constant presence in target areas, to displace embedded crime, and to monitor high-profile public spaces.

Employing CCTV in Trinidad

By installing and utilizing an initial six CCTV cameras in the Trinidad neighborhood — with the possibility of up to a dozen more — as part of this Safe City Project, MPD will be better equipped to help reduce crime and fear in the area.

Support of Recreation Centers

Objective: Increase the availability of recreational equipment and other associated leisure time materials at the Joseph Cole and Trinidad Recreation Centers of the DC Parks and Recreation Department to better serve Trinidad area youth, families and senior citizens.

Approximately $25,000 would be awarded to each of the two DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) recreational centers in the Trinidad community. These two resources provide a variety of recreational, cultural, and educational services for the residents of this community. DPR offers basketball, football, cheerleading and Pom Pon programs. DPR faces one large obstacle in implementing these programs — access to free uniforms and supplies that our children and youth typically would not be able to afford. This funding would ensure children and youth have access to free uniforms and the equipment necessary to participate and play in these vital programs.

Mobile Outreach

Objective: Obtain a trailer, tables, chairs and event equipment, to be attached to a vehicle and moved to various locations in Trinidad neighborhood for MPD community outreach events.

MPD divides the city into seven geographic divisions called police districts. The Fifth District, home to the Trinidad community, has Community Services and Youth Outreach Coordinators who host or participate on behalf of the MPD in a large number of community and youth events throughout the year. Currently, there are very limited supplies available to support MPD’s involvement in community and youth outreach events within the Trinidad and 5th Police District areas. A well outfitted Community Outreach Trailer based in the Fifth District will provide the necessary resources for these coordinators to provide proper professional support for these events that is truly representative of MPD’s high level of commitment to the community.

Light Up the Night

Objective: Implement the “Light Up the Night” program, which will give away light bulbs to create better lighting at night.

In the Light Up the Night program, police officers will go to specific blocks in the Trinidad neighborhood with a supply of energy saving high-intensity light bulbs. The goal is to brighten the exteriors of residents’ homes and apartment buildings. The free bulbs will support the MPD-driven campaign to light up front porches during night time hours, in order to deter crime which is often committed in the “shadow” of night. MPD officers will go door to door providing these low energy and high intensity lights, answering residents’ questions and speaking to residents about the importance of keeping a porch light on throughout the night. Emphasis will be placed on educating residents about the value of keeping their community illuminated in an effort to deter crime.

Operation Live Link

Objective: Implement the “Live Link” cell phone program for community leaders and residents to have access to call 911 to report crime and/or suspicious behavior.

The Live Link Cell Phone Program is a low cost and useful community policing strategy whereby residents are provided with a cell phone programmed only to call 9-1-1. Many residents of the Trinidad neighborhood are unable to afford cell phones. The Live Link Cell Phone Program will afford this important wireless direct connection between residents and the Police and Fire Emergency (9-1-1) number. An estimated 200 cell phones will be part of this Live Link Trinidad project, distributed to the 46 neighborhood blocks within Trinidad to each of the neighborhood block captains and assistant block captains.

Partnerships and Collaborations

Objective: Endorse and assist community-based initiatives at the Joseph Cole and Trinidad Recreational Centers, including the “Youth Advocate” program and the “We Can” Program.

The Washington, DC Police Foundation is assisting MPD with overall program planning, program development, and project implementation of this important initiative by Chief Cathy L. Lanier. The Foundation’s role has been to both help with the framing of MPD’s formal Safe City proposal and, to use its network of professional contacts to seek direct and indirect support for the respective elements of the project.

Five Advisory Neighborhood Commissions were actively involved in developing the proposal and relaying their needs. Their work was especially instrumental in getting the Department of Parks and Recreation playground equipment.

The Foundation will serve as the initial fiscal agent for funds awarded by the Target Corporation, and other funding partners in furtherance of the goals of the Safe City program. Regarding other youth outreach programs such as “Youth Advocate” and “We Can,” the Foundation will meet with the Community Partners to help identify funding sources from which they may independently request support.

How You Can Support Safe City

  • Make a Contribution. The DC Police Foundation is working closely with MPD to both plan the Safe City Trinidad project, and to seek private sector donations to assure the project’s full implementation. Please contact the DC Police Foundation, a tax exempt DC charitable organization, (contact information found elsewhere on this brochure) to discuss how you can help financially support the Safe City Project.
  • Make an In-Kind Donation. There are many opportunities for donors to provide needed goods and services to make the Safe City project a success. Please contact the DC Police Foundation for further information about how you or your company or other organization can help.
  • Tell Others How They Can Participate. MPD and the DC Police Foundation stand ready to provide you bulk copies of this brochure describing the Safe City Project. Please contact Commander Lamar Greene at MPD’s 5th Police District Station at (202) 698-0150 to arrange a briefing on the Safe City project.

Learn More About the Washington DC Police Foundation