What should the city do to address crime?
The incredible police work done by our officers always impresses me. I think for the most part they have crime under control. We do occasionally have high-profile incidents and spurts of criminal activity in specific areas. The one issue I have observed is that after several localized incidents, police visibility increases, especially in that area.
Eventually after the crimes are solved or further ones deterred, that visibility wanes until the next increase in crime. The best way to avoid this is to make sure that we have more visible policing on a permanent basis in all areas. In addition, the City should have smart policies that includes only selectively enforcing minor victimless crimes like marijuana possession and use. This also includes my full support for the sanctuary city concept.
We have a better and safer community when we welcome and protect those who come to our city to improve their lives. I also am very proud of the fact that we grant the franchise to all of our residents. Ultimately, I believe that though countries have the obligation to their citizens to maintain an orderly and self-beneficial immigration and visitation policies, the basic concerns of order and protecting the life and rights of individuals means that local jurisdictions are harmed when they try to enforce federal laws that divide people based on the circumstances of their birth.
Keep using good technology, cross-jurisdictional communication, and quick alerts to residents to respond to crime. Work proactively in conjunction with community groups to reduce vulnerability to crime. Make sure streets are well-lit, that bushes are trimmed back, and that vacant properties and stalled construction projects are dealt with by code enforcement.
Make sure everyone has memorized the phone number for reporting suspicious activity – 301-270-1100 – and does not hesitate to use it. Use small grants to foster the revitalization of neighborhood organizations through events such as block parties and play days that build cohesion and awareness among neighbors. And last but not least, get police out of their cars and onto bicycles, or on foot, as much as possible so that they build trust and cooperation with residents and become better attuned to vulnerabilities.
Collaboration and coordination are the first steps to addressing crime issues in the city. City residents deserve a responsive and collaborative police department that works with residents in a meaningful way to not only respond to criminal acts, but also to proactively prevent crime in our neighborhoods.
Another area that can be addressed immediately is coordination with other jurisdictions particularly the Montgomery County police department. We need to resolve the issue of county police not being “allowed” to police in Takoma Park as they do in other areas of the country. This is a top priority for me and if elected to Council will be among the first issues I address.