ANC Meeting: Prosecutions, Literacy, Leaf Collection
By December 6, 2023 0 373•
Phew! The Georgetown, Burleith, Hillandale Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC2E) meeting on Dec. 4 was so packed with community announcements that its two featured reports about crime and D.C. student achievement came close to the “Too Much Information” cliff.
This year’s alarming increase in crimes is uppermost in residents’ minds. The common perception has it that Washington, D.C. prosecutes less than a third of those arrested for violent crimes. “Actually in 2023, 52 percent of those arrested for committing crimes in D.C. were prosecuted,” said Wendy Pohlhaus from the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, part of the Department of Justice.
“That compares to less than 40 percent in 2022,” she said. Reasons for low prosecution rates include that many of the crimes were misdemeanors, or there was insufficient evidence to make a “constructive possession case.” Some cases had viable defenses, while some were subject to prosecutorial discretion. The biggest obstacle to prosecution, according to Pohlhaus, is the lack of a certified criminal lab in D.C. to validate accusations, especially of assaults with a deadly weapon.
It was clear that Pohlhaus’s crime presentation would be worth a good separate hour or more. It was the same with the report by Ward Two’s State Board of Education Representative Allister Chang, a former Georgetown resident. He showed a detailed D.C. report card for the over 200 public general and charter schools that revealed that only 30 percent of D.C. students can read proficiently at grade level. Even in Ward 2 schools, reading proficiency hovers around 60 percent. Chang suggested many solutions, which warrant in-depth discussion.
The end-of-the-year updates by D.C. spokespersons were more upbeat. The Mayor’s Office displayed plans for the use of 250 snowplows and a call for volunteers to help shovel out sidewalks of infirm neighbors in case of snow. Meanwhile, areas of Georgetown are weeks behind schedule for sweeping out piles of soggy leaves in the streets. A second round of leaf pickup is being planned and many expect this time the doorknob notices and the pickup will arrive on scheduled times.
Christmastime events are taking place all over Georgetown and were announced at the meeting (see elsewhere on these pages or at Georgetowner.com for details).
Among the reviews by the ANC and Old Georgetown Board is the conversion of the Capital One Bank building on Q and Wisconsin Avenue into a Tatte Bakery and Café. Its patio for outdoor dining and a parking lot drew particular attention. Concerns regarding noise, garbage pickup and parking lot monitoring were explored at length before the commission voted its approval.
The next ANC2E meeting will be Jan. 9.