H Street Public Safety Discussion at ANC 6A

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Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC 6A) met via Zoom on Oct. 12. Commissioners Keya Chatterjee (6A01, vice chair), Mike Velasquez (6A02), Roberta Shapiro (6A03), Amber Gove (6A04, chair), Dave Wethington (6A05), Robb Dooling (6A06) and Steve Moilanen (6A07) were in attendance.

H Street Main Street (HSMS) Executive Director Anwar Saleem briefed the commission on crime trends for his service area. He shared future plans as well.

In a recent HSMS survey, businesses near H St. NE listed crime as their number one concern. While noting the importance of Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) presence, Saleem emphasized the vital role of other District agencies and community partners, such as the DC Department of Behavioral Health (DBH), play in creating a safe place for neighbors and businesses to thrive.

HSMS has used its own resources to increase H Street NE security. The organization plans to take additional steps to market the neighborhood to customers in 2024. In particular, HSMS is working to establish an H Street Business Improvement District (BID) and recruit new businesses to the corridor.

Additional security measures including security wands and ID scanners, Saleem said, could prove helpful by allowing law enforcement to identify perpetrators after crimes occur.

He emphasized the importance of youth programming and resources to keep teens off the streets.

“Some of these kids don’t have an outlet so they are going to create something for themselves to have fun,” Saleem said. “Most of the time that creation is detrimental to us.”

Commissioner Chatterjee echoed It is important to address crime at the source. Universal basic income, affordable housing and job stability, she said, are key components of the public safety solution. “If we actually want to reduce crime, enforcement is the last resort,” Chatterjee stated.

First District Commander Colin Hall also briefed the commission on public safety. Commissioner Shapiro applauded the First District team’s “exemplary” engagement efforts with the community. Shapiro is “encouraged” by the progress already made under Hall’s leadership.

Other Matters
The commission voted to:

  • support to DC Council members for the Open Movie Captioning Requirement Act of 2023;
  • request the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) conduct a comprehensive study of pedestrian safety and vehicle circulation around Lincoln Park;
  • join ANC 7D in supporting the honorary renaming of the 1300-1600-blocks of A St. NE to recognize the Eastern High School Blue and White Marching Machine.

The next meeting of ANC 6A is at 7 p.m. Nov. 9 via Zoom. Get details on committee meetings and how to join online at anc6a.org.

Sarah Payne is a reporter for Capital Community News. She can be reached at sarahp@hillrag.com.