- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Metropolitan Police Department made more than 650 arrests last weekend as part of a kickoff to the District’s summer anti-crime initiative, Chief Cathy L. Lanier said yesterday.

“I think overall we hit our goal of what the initiative was,” Chief Lanier said during a press conference announcing the arrest totals. Now, we “take those examples and then determine how we turn that around, listen to what people have said to us.”

The 650 arrests were made from 6 a.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Sunday. That was more than twice the average number made during the previous five weekends, police said, and the arrests also resulted in a drop of about 10 percent in serious crime compared with the previous weekends.

The adult arrests included 109 on narcotics charges, 11 for aggravated assaults, 14 for unauthorized use of a vehicle, nine on robbery charges and four from three homicide cases.

Police also arrested 33 juveniles on charges ranging from weapons offenses to narcotics.

Officers made hundreds of arrests for lesser violations, including 153 on prostitution-related charges, 89 for disorderly conduct — such as drinking in public — and 118 for serious traffic violations, such as impaired or reckless driving.

Chief Lanier said she was “fairly happy” with the number of arrests for violent crimes compared with the larger totals on smaller charges.

“You really can’t underestimate how important it is that people feel comfortable in their neighborhoods,” she said.

The arrests were the result of nearly 3,300 officers working 12-hour shifts during the weekend to kick off the department’s summer anti-crime initiative.

The overtime shifts are expected to cost the District about $1.3 million.

The anti-crime offensive is aimed at staving off the District’s traditional spike in crime during the summer months and avoiding the crime emergencies that have been declared in recent years.

Chief Lanier’s predecessor, Charles H. Ramsey, declared the District to be under a summer crime emergency in three of the past four years.

In 2003, Chief Ramsey announced a crime emergency to stem a surge in homicides and did the same in 2004 to curb a spate of car thefts by juveniles.

Last year, a July surge in homicides that included the brutal slaying of a British man in Georgetown prompted the same call from then-Chief Ramsey. Declaring a crime emergency gives the police chief more leeway in adjusting officers’ schedules, and the 2006 emergency cost the District about $14 million.

This year’s initiative will continue through August, with district commanders deploying officers into areas where they expect to see increases in criminal activity.

Police also deployed five additional surveillance cameras last week and plan to deploy 24 more by the end of this month, bringing the total in the city to 72.

Chief Lanier said officers didn’t solely focus on arrests during the past weekend, but also on being present at community events such as school graduations and police district open houses.

“Having been out there all weekend myself,” she said, “I can tell you I got a lot of positive feedback from our community.”