20 Nov 2009

PSA 107 Meeting: Recent Successes Includes Arrests in Armed Carjacking, Safeway Robberies

Last night Hill East residents met with local police officers and detectives from the carjacking unit at the PSA 107 meeting at Liberty Baptist Church, located at 527 Kentucky Ave, SE.  Approximately 20 residents were in attendance for the discussion with MPD Lieutenant Daniel Ewell (daniel.ewell@dc.gov), Sergeant Mike Architzel (michael.architzel@dc.gov), and four officers who cover the PSA.

Detectives Thomas Stein and Thomas Rosenborg, who work closely with the FBI on armed carjackings, described the alarming trend in the neighborhood. The detectives noted that armed carjackings are up throughout the city, with 24 incidents occuring in November alone. In the last two weeks, there have been three armed carjackings in PSA 107, all occurring on Sunday mornings.

Detectives detailed one arrest that was made in conjunction with an armed carjacking that occurred on the 1300 block of East Capitol Street on November 8 when the 13 and 15 year-old suspects were caught in Lincoln Heights. The detectives believe that suspects in the other carjackings also live in Lincoln Heights and are not residents of the neighborhood. All of the assailants have been wearing ski masks, and the detectives urged residents to call 911 when they see suspicious activities or persons.

Of great concern to the neighbors at the meetings was that most of the suspects are under 16 and can’t be charged as adults, even when caught with weapons. Detective Rosenborg explained that in exceptional circumstances the detectives can apply to the US Attorney’s office to charge and prosecute the youth as adults under Title 16. However, more often the youth are quickly released to their families rather than to halfway houses and youth detention centers.

Rosenborg said the DC Armed Carjacking Unit has an arrest record of 38 percent, 10 percent higher than the national average of 28 percent. Police have also been successful in tracking cell phones in stolen cars, and warned residents not to set a home address in GPS systems or in cell phones because criminals have been using the car/house keys they’ve stolen to let themselves into the residences after they’ve carjacked the vehicle.

The conversation then turned to residents’ complaints about the 911 dispatcher service and inconsistency in the manner their calls about suspicious activity are received. Lt. Ewell noted that dispatchers should always give callers an identifying number at the beginning of the call and ask if the resident wants to leave a name and number. Police encouraged attendees to leave their information because it will help officers if a case evolves. Lt. Ewell also noted that residents can ask to talk to a manager, and recommends they call the First District with complaints.

At the end of the meeting, Lt. Ewell congratulated First District officers for their recent successes in decreasing robberies, especially south of Pennsylvania Avenue, and making arrests in the recent burglaries, a series of robberies from taxis, and cleaning up the drug activity near Payne Elementary School. He also detailed the coordinated detective work and teamwork of the officers who made an arrest in the late-August robberies at Safeway. Sgt. Architzel also noted that police have identified the school the young rock throwers attend, and that police expect to quickly identify the youth involved.

The monthly PSA 107 newsletter noted that in October there were five thefts from autos, 10 thefts, seven burglaries, three robberies, and two assaults with deadly weapons in the neighborhood.

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One response to “PSA 107 Meeting: Recent Successes Includes Arrests in Armed Carjacking, Safeway Robberies”

  1. PT says:

    Thanks for posting this. That isn’t my PSA, but I’m glad to hear MPD is making progress with some of these issues and also to see the good advice re: 911 calls for suspicious activity/that we should leave a name, which could help them make the case if anything come of it.

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