“I can see and feel the increase of police and public safety measures in my daily walks around Georgetown,” said Rick Murphy, chair of the Georgetown-Burleith advisory neighborhood commission, during a virtual meeting of ANC 2E on March 30.
Second District Commander Duncan Bedlion of the Metropolitan Police Department confirmed that, as did John Rentzepis of the Citizens Association of Georgetown and Joe Sternlieb of the Georgetown Business Improvement District.
“The police stations, offices and patrols are fully staffed and engaged,” Bedlion said. “You can come in at any time, even for parking passes. But changes have been made to meet the challenges of the coronavirus stay-at-home and social distancing orders.
“Reports of nonviolent crimes and requests for most services for all but emergency incidents are being done online or by phone,” he said. “As a result, we are seeing that officers have been able to respond quicker to serious crimes and are making more arrests faster.”
“Our CAG security officer will continue to drive around five nights a week, patrolling Georgetown and reporting any suspicious or dangerous activity directly to the Metropolitan Police Department,” said Rentzepis. “The service that regularly checks homes of absent residents who request it will continue. But the CAG officer will no longer be able to offer late-night rides in the car to residents to their homes.”
According to CAG, its unarmed patrol officer provides a visual deterrent to crime while being a trained set of “eyes and ears” for the community.
Some of the Georgetown BID’s Clean Team members have been reassigned to night security patrol. “They will provide additional security to businesses and some residences in the commercial areas of Georgetown,” Sternlieb said.
“The far west end of Water Street continues to be a problem, mainly with gatherings of young people late at night,” Bedlion reported. “We’ll be patrolling that area more frequently with more officers.”
Of course, now that street traffic has been greatly reduced by the stay-at-home order, officers are not the only ones more visible. So are potential lawbreakers, noted Murphy.
“More residents who become a little stir-crazy in their homes walk their neighborhoods more often,” Murphy said. “They look out their windows more. They notice things that don’t seem right. If you see something, report it.”