ANC 6A Report - October 2015

Talking with Police Officials about Crime

To address this year’s spike in crime of all kinds, Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Chief Diane Grooms, along with First District Captain Tony Charland (parts of ANC 6A are in both the First and Fifth districts) and Detective Sergeant Andrew Struhar, who oversees the Narcotics Enforcement Unit, visited Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6A’s October meeting to speak and answer questions.

They addressed different facets of local crime, saying that burglaries in 6A are down while robberies are up. Both the H Street corridor and the area at Starburst Plaza and Hechinger Mall are key crime spots, and since June there have been 44 arrests for drug distribution along Benning Road, mostly for synthetics. The department has shifted focus away from street buyers and toward finding the source of drug distribution.

The officers also said that while Police Chief Kathy Lanier has authorized overtime pay for all eight of the department’s districts, most resources are going to Districts Five, Six, and Seven; in Seven in particular murders are way up from last year.

Finally Grooms, Charland, and Struhar touched on ways for residents to stay safe and help police do their job. For safety, avoid walking alone at night, and if you have to do it walk in the street and don’t cut through alleys. Also, the more neighbors get to know one another and keep an eye out, the better. People can report drug activity to NSID.drugcomplaints@dc.gov, which goes directly to Struhar. When reporting an incident or suspicious activity, provide as much detail as possible: When? Where? What did you see? Were people on foot or driving? 

Events DC Is Considering a New Playground on C Street

ANC 6A wrote a letter to Events DC, the organization that manages many of DC’s public spaces, urging it to build a playground on the empty land it owns on the south side of C Street NE between 20th and 21st streets. Some nearby residents oppose the plan, saying a playground would be unsafe for families who live on the other side of C Street because it sees so much car traffic. At the prospective playground site C Street is five lanes wide and referred to by some as a “de facto highway.”

However, the area’s only public playground is on Oklahoma Avenue, north of C Street, meaning those who live south of C must cross it. Events DC also owns the Oklahoma Avenue playground, and while removing it to make room for new development is not in the plans, opponents say building a C Street playground would make removing the Oklahoma one more likely. If the Oklahoma Avenue playground were to go and there was none on C Street, the area would not have any public playground at all. The commissioners suggested that Events DC might build and/or maintain playgrounds at both sites.

Work to Clean Up the Anacostia

Richard Jackson, associate director of the Toxic Substances Division of the District’s Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE), visited 6A’s regular meeting to give an update on the status of the Anacostia River Sediment Project, whose goal is to identify contaminants (and their origins) in the river and clean them up.

DOEE finished collecting river samples in May and now has over a thousand pages of raw data, which it will use to compile a report, by the end of December, on what kinds of contaminants are in the Anacostia’s sediments. Next DOEE will study ways to clean the river. The agency is supposed to have a plan by June 2018, and Jackson says it’s on pace to meet that.

The project is looking at nine miles of the Anacostia (plus its shorelines) from Bladensburg, Md., to the Washington Channel. It is collaborating with the US Geological Survey and upstream jurisdictions in Maryland to make sure contaminant sources there stay out of the river. You can learn more at http://doee.dc.gov/anacostiasediment.

Grant Money from 6A

ANC 6A has a grant program for events and projects that enhance public life within the community. About $2,000 is available this year to any nonprofit organization, and the amount will likely increase in 2016. Examples of past projects include outdoor benches, band uniforms, instruments, sports equipment, library books for schools, flower bulbs for Cub Scout troops, and construction materials for an outdoor puppet theater.

The application should describe the project and its anticipated timeline, the benefit for the community, and a budget that outlines what portion of the funding would come from the 6A grant and how that money would be used. After the project is complete, the grant recipient has to provide a final report that includes a summary of the outcome, photos, and documentation of the costs. Applications, along with more information on the process and its rules, are available at http://www.anc6a.org/ on the “Other Documents” page.

ANC 6A’s next full meeting will be Thursday, Nov. 12, at Miner Elementary School, 601 15th St. NE.