- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 13, 2006

Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey yesterday said police officials will be examining officer deployment and crime trends to curtail a recent increase in homicides, robberies and assaults that prompted him to declare a citywide crime emergency Tuesday.

“We will be going back to the drawing board,” Chief Ramsey said. “One thing we have seen is a difference in terms of the pattern of people being arrested in crimes.

“It used to be almost 80 percent of criminals, if not higher, were arrested in areas near where they live,” he said. “Now we’re starting to see a trend where more and more people are being arrested in places they do not live in.”

About 40 percent of suspects arrested for crimes in the 3rd Police District since January do not live there, Chief Ramsey noted.

Within the first 13 hours of the crime emergency, the District had four shootings, one of which was fatal, and two armed robberies on the Mall, which is patrolled by the U.S. Park Police.

Chief Ramsey announced the crime emergency Tuesday afternoon, noting an 18 percent increase in robberies, a 14 percent increase in assaults and 13 homicides this month, including the stabbing of British political activist Alan Senitt in Georgetown. The suspects in that slaying are from Southeast.

The city’s 14th homicide this month occurred early yesterday. Police found Michael Dorsey, 23, of Capitol Heights, shot multiple times in an apartment hallway in the 1900 block of Gallaudet Street Northeast.The District recorded 21 homicides last July and 20 in July 2004. Overall, the city has had 96 homicides this year, compared to 94 this time last year.

“We’ve had 96, but 96 is still too many,” Chief Ramsey said yesterday. “We’ve got a long summer ahead of us, and then September is always a busy time for us.”

This is the third summer in four years that Chief Ramsey has declared a crime emergency and the fourth time overall since he became chief in 1998. The chief announced an emergency in 2003 to stem a surge in homicides and in 2004 to curb a spate of car thefts by juveniles.

Declaring a crime emergency allows district commanders more flexibility in adjusting work schedules and assigning officers to high-crime areas.

Chief Ramsey said officials will examine the crime “hot spots” system under which crime-fighting efforts have been concentrated in 14 areas of the city.

Meanwhile, the Park Police, who patrol many federal areas, assigned more officers to the Mall in response to the armed robberies of tourists near the Washington Monument on Tuesday night.

Park Police spokesman Sgt. Scott Fear said two women from Texas were held up at gunpoint at about 10 p.m. on the southern grounds of the Monument and a family of four from Missouri was robbed nearby 15 minutes later. The victims were not harmed.

The victims in both incidents described the robbers as two black males wearing masks, dressed all in black and carrying handguns, Sgt. Fear said.

Park Police are investigating to see if the robberies are connected to a string of three violent robberies on the Mall in May. In one of those cases, a woman was kicked in the head and back. In another, a woman was sexually assaulted.

“We’re going to continue to place resources on the National Mall to make it safe,” Sgt. Fear said.

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat, yesterday met with Park Police officials, whom she had urged to increase Mall patrols after the May attacks.

Rep. Frank R. Wolf, Virginia Republican, yesterday called for a summit among the area’s law-enforcement agencies to respond to the crime emergency.

The crime emergency declaration came several hours before the D.C. Council voted Tuesday to devote $21 million to hire 350 police officers next year.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.


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