Mayor Bowser along with members of her administration and leaders of the Metropolitan Police Department recently announced a series of programs and changes aimed at reducing the wave of violent crime that has suddenly overtaken parts of the District.
These initiatives include community engagement forums that will allow members of various neighborhoods to have coffee with police in order to facilitate greater understanding and forge needed trust on both sides. Then, there’s the announcement that MPD will have a greater street presence with additional hours approved for overtime for officers.
It’s a good start but as the mayor acknowledges, it’s going to take a concerted effort to get criminals off of our streets, out of our communities and, if necessary, locked up so they’re unable to cause further pain, mayhem or death.
Perhaps we could all begin by getting to know our neighbors better. One recent news report showed a young girl knocking on a neighbor’s door because her friend’s mother was having a medical emergency. Thank goodness the little girl knew her neighbors and felt comfortable enough to seek help.
But we wonder if our children would do the same. Could they do the same?
In year’s past, everyone knew everyone on the block. Today, in our hustle and bustle we no longer take the time to introduce ourselves or get to know anyone — even the family that lives right next door.
The police have a big job — one that’s often thankless until we need them. But it’s impossible for them to do it alone. We aren’t advocating that folks begin to “rat” on their neighbors. But we do believe that the time has surely come when we must emerge from our front doors and tell hoodlums to cease and desist. We can live together without killing one another, can’t we?