Fox 5 News (WTTG Channel 5) in Washington, DC has reported that Adams Morgan, a popular cultural community in the District, has a new plan to combat an upsurge of crime in the area. “Operation Adams Morgan” was created by the DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) as a crackdown on crime. The crackdown came as a result of complaints from the Adams Morgan community, in particular those who live there and business owners. The operation began the last week in June and will continue through Labor Day.
Fox News correspondents Audrey Barnes, Matt Ackland and Bob Barnard have given their assessment of the operation in their reports. Barnes stated that “violent crimes have surged 10 percent in 30 days while property crime is up 36 percent since June 11”.
The main reason for the operation is due to the thriving nightlife of partygoers. Adams Morgan has a cluster of bars, clubs and restaurants with over 90 establishments possessing liquor licenses. Not only does this atmosphere bring in those who want to have a good time, but also attracts criminal activity as well.
Mehari Woldemariam, who has owned Club Heaven and Hell on 18th Street for 30 years, states the following: “It’s not about the people who come early and enjoy themselves. Those are valuable customers for us. But people who come at two o’clock, three o’clock in the morning and hang out in the street, they don’t spend any money. They disturb the neighborhood. They disturb the businesses. We’re not safe at all with this. We’re not happy either.”
The MPD captain in charge of the program sent out the following email:
“After a long series of planning and collaborative sessions with the citizens and businesses of Adams Morgan, the Adams Morgan BID and various concerned stakeholders that provided information by either telephone or internet, MPD has announced the start of the first phase of “Operation Adams Morgan”.
“Over the next few weekends, MPD will deploy more officers and resources into the Adams Morgan area then seen in many years. This will be completed without affecting the deployments of any other community.
“The initial phase will begin this weekend with minor parking restrictions along 18th Street and gradually progress into a full compliment of uniformed and undercover officers conducting various operations while teaming up with several city agencies (DPW, DDOT, ABRA) in addition to members of The Guardian Angels.The collaborative effort will target underage drinking, drunk driving, alcohol and narcotic related offenses as well as many quality of life issues and concerns.
“Phase one of “Operation Adams Morgan” will continue until later this year when MPD’s redistricting program is implemented and places additional manpower and available resources evenly across the entire patrol district.
“The Metropolitan Police Department want to thank all that took part in the brainstorming and strategic planning stages of this endeavor and will stay committed to ensuring we are all working towards achieving a safer community for all.
– Captain Aubrey P. Mongal, Third District
The Guardian Angels of Washington, DC have also been asked to protect the community due to the shortage of police officers. The volunteer organization has served the District for 21 years and is trained in CPR/First Aid, self-defense and what to do if they see a crime in progress. Their website also states their mission – “to help prevent and deter violence and crime through safety patrols, education, and community service”. The Guardian Angels during the operation will be patrolling the area in the late hours on Saturdays and Sundays.
“Especially around bar closing time – after two o’clock until about 4:30 in the morning. It can be pretty chaotic out here,” says Guardian Angel Alex Kaufer. “You’ve got tons of people out on the sidewalks. People starting all kinds of trouble – people getting into fights. Cars getting broken into.”
Adams Morgan is located in the Northwest section of Washington, DC centered at the intersection of 18th Street and Columbia Road. The name was derived from Washington DC’s first segregated schools, the all black Thomas P. Morgan Elementary School and the all white John Quincy Adams Elementary School.
The 33rd annual Adams Morgan Day festival is Sunday, September 11, 2011 from noon to 7pm. More information on the festival can be found at www.adamsmorganfestival.com.