- The Washington Times - Monday, October 22, 2012

D.C. police officers patrolled city streets in force over the weekend as part of Chief Cathy L. Lanier’s signature All Hands on Deck crime-fighting initiative, but the increased police presence appeared to do little to prevent an unusually high number of robberies.

Police recorded 61 robberies over the three-day stretch from Friday through Sunday. The previous weekend, during which All Hands on Deck was not in effect, saw 40 robberies from Friday through Sunday, according to internal police crime data.

“Many of the incidents can be attributed to large events,” MPD spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said. “We had several special events this weekend, including the Howard University Homecoming.”

The police department’s Third District, where most of Howard University’s homecoming events took place, recorded the most crime over the three-day span — with 13 robberies among the 76 total crimes. Only the Fourth District had more robberies, with 14.

Over the same period, a total of 303 crimes were reported citywide — including a sex assault, 17 assaults with a deadly weapon, 83 thefts from automobiles and 26 stolen automobiles. No homicides were reported.

“The expectation because we have so many officers on the street is that crime should be driven down,” union President Kristopher Baumann said of the program. Mr. Baumann has been critical of the initiative in the past and has challenged the deployments in court. “This is an indicator that AHOD is not there for crime fighting, it’s there for public relations.”

In a letter posted last summer on police listservs, Chief Lanier said her often-maligned initiative, which puts all D.C. officers visibly on patrol for a limited period of time, was an effort “to increase visibility and prevent crime.”

Preliminary statistics show robberies up this year by about 6 percent, according to an internal police department report — with 3,442 recorded through Oct. 21 compared to 3,234 recorded during the same period last year. Overall, crime has increased about 3 percent this year over last year.

In the past, police have issued news releases detailing the results of weekends on which the patrols were in effect, including the number of arrests made. That information was not available from a department spokeswoman Monday.

Reports on police listservs detailed several notable incidents and arrests from the weekend.

On Friday night, two men robbed and carjacked a man at gunpoint in the 1500 block of C Street Northeast. A heavy police presence responded, including officers from the Fifth and First District and an MPD helicopter, and tracked the stolen Mercedes Benz to the 600 block of 15th Street Northeast where two men were arrested.

“This offense was closed quickly due to the rapid response of the officers and the cooperative efforts of 1D and 5D working together,” wrote First District Cmdr. Daniel Hickson on the MPD listserv.

In the Seventh District, which only recorded five robberies during the three-day span, the district’s crime suppression team recovered two loaded handguns and arrested two men in connection with the recovery of one of the weapons, Sgt. Anthony Greene wrote.

In the Fourth District, police were still looking for suspects in several robbery cases.

In one holdup, a man was approached by a group of four men Sunday morning and robbed at gunpoint in the 1200 block of Underwood Street Northwest. In another, on Sunday afternoon, one man asked a victim if he had the time before pulling out a knife and taking the man’s wallet.