CAG’s Expanded Public Safety Program Needs You Now!
CAG Public Safety Committee
In response to serious and wide-spread community concerns about public safety, the Citizens’ Association of Georgetown (CAG) has broadened its Public Security Program.
The expanded program is based on the premise that there is strength in numbers and community involvement. Working together we can have:
- more police presence,
- increased Guard surveillance,
- immediate information about crimes,
- better communication among neighbors,
- stronger advocacy with the MPD and elected officials for police resources in Georgetown
CAG Guard Supervisor and car
CAG funds a private security patrol to expand the security presence on our streets and has organized additional projects to enhance residents’ safety.
CAG Guard Program: CAG has enhanced the longstanding Guard Program by adding a supervisor and two patrol cars to our Guard contingent which increases the Guard presence, ensures that guards are being deployed effectively and are working at maximum effectiveness. The Guards are equipped so they can easily communicate with the police and respond rapidly to ongoing threats to public safety.
CAG Guards patrol Georgetown: The CAG Guards are trained uniformed officers provided under contract by the respected international firm Securitas Security Services Inc. The Guards patrol in cars with flashing yellow lights during evening and nighttime hours, five days a week looking for problems and reporting suspicious activity to the police via cell phone. CAG Guards wear their official Securitas uniforms and provide a visual deterrent to crime as well as providing alert “eyes and ears” for our community. They carry flashlights and cell phones, but are not armed. The guards are familiar with the comings and goings around Georgetown and have been successful in reducing robberies, burglaries and muggings. The CAG Neighborhood Guards carry GSP enable phones so Securitas and CAG can monitor their “beats” electronically.
CAG Guards Provide Personalized Service: Residents who donate to the Public Safety Program can request personalized services from the Guards: they will escort residents (and/or their guests) between home and car or to neighborhood engagements and they will also check house doors, parked cars and remove newspapers from your doorstep when you are away. Every donor receives detailed program information including a CAG Public Safety Program window sticker, and the Guards’ cell phone numbers and duty hours, so you can contact them directly at any time. Our CAG Guards will visit in person at your home, if requested. They welcome the opportunity to meet individual residents in order to do their jobs better.
CAG Surveillance camera program: CAG is currently implementing a camera surveillance pilot program on certain designated blocks which criminals are likely to use to enter and exit Georgetown to provide additional deterrence. The cameras can be used by the police to search for information on cars and people passing through Georgetown after a crime has been committed. Camera images can also be requested by a resident who has filed a police report concerning a block covered by the camera program. No active monitoring of the video takes place and the stored video is automatically erased every 30 days. In addition blocks subject to video surveillance have signs notifying residents and visitors that the area is subject to video surveillance. We hope to expand this program to cover all streets that can be used to enter or leave Georgetown.
Working with the Metropolitan Police Department leadership: CAG’s Public Safety Committee has been working with the leadership of our MPD Second District to achieve more community-oriented and strategic policing in Georgetown. Our proactive discussions with MPD leaders have been very productive. Several members of CAG’s Public Safety committee have expert knowledge regarding best policing practices and will continue to work with MPD officers to move ideas to actual implementation on our streets. We are also working with elected officials and the MPD to seek additional police resources for Georgetown.
Great communication between police and residents: CAG regularly hosts meetings between the officers and leaders of MPD and community residents. The meetings take place every month or two at a variety of locations: local parks, the Safeway, and at the homes of block captains. MPD officers are also part of the email group where block captains communicate with each other and so the police know immediately when there are issues of concern to the community and quickly respond.
Public Safety Block Captains: Over 75 Georgetown residents have volunteered to be “crime communication central” for their close-by-neighbors by becoming CAG Public Safety Block Captains. These committed individuals have contacted their neighbors by flyer and email to organize email networks, or in some cases, meetings, to discuss specifics about crime and security on their particular block. Consequently, interested neighbors now receive very up-to-date notices about crime on or near their blocks. “Our block really appreciates being kept informed” says Ginny Poole, block captain of 3000 P Street.
The Block Captain program was originally started in the mid 1990’s but had become inactive in recent years. At the beginning of 2007, CAG’s Public Safety Committee decided to reinvigorate the program and recruited Helen Darling to be coordinator. Helen held orientation meetings for the first block captains at the CAG office and at her house. Helen says “we’ve been thrilled to have many concerned residents volunteer because they see the need for closer communications next-door-neighbor to next-door-neighbor.” Diane Colasanto, the program’s current coordinator, notes that “the grapevine is much more electronic than ‘in person’ these days. If someone’s car is stolen, a quick email can get the news to neighbors almost instantly – at their home and at work.”
Block captains send notices from MPD, GU and individuals if and when messages are relevant to their block. The Cloisters block captain Bev Casserly said “We really want to know immediately if there is a mugging or burglary near our home.” These email chains also help neighbors put bits and pieces of information together as a crime or suspicious activities occur.
The block captains also give CAG and the MPD invaluable feedback about what is of concern to their neighbors. This has really opened up the channels of communication. “It helps when you can get an email response directly from the Commander!” said one block captain.
If you don’t see a block captain listed for your block – we need you! Please volunteer by calling the CAG office (337-7313) or Coordinator Diane Colasanto at 333-0395.
More Immediate Information and Alerts: You can visit www.crimereports.com to have detailed daily, weekly or monthly email crime reports sent directly to you. MPD offers a crime mapping service at http://crimemap.dc.gov/CrimeMapSearch.aspx. Additionally you can sign-up for the Alert DC system which delivers emergency alerts to your email, cell phone, and/or other PDF devices.
PAYING FOR IT – THE PRICE OF INCREASED SECURITY
The expanded Public Safety Program costs more than ever before. The CAG Board has taken a proactive leadership role by committing organization funds to cover the first three months of the pilot programs. But to continue the expanded police and guard coverage, we need to raise very substantial revenues soon.
DONATIONS ARE NOW TAX-DEDUCTIBLE
The good news is that donations to the Public Safety and Guard programs are completely tax deductible. We are asking each resident of Georgetown to give as generously as possible. If we all share the financial responsibility at the highest level each household can afford, we will be able to sustain a comprehensive program. We urge you to join other Georgetown residents in meeting this important challenge.
Please join your neighbors in supporting this important program that keeps your neighborhood closely monitored at night and provides individualized security service. We’ll all be safer and more connected!
Please join your neighbors in supporting this important program that keeps your neighborhood closely monitored at night and
provides individualized security service. We’ll all be safer and more connected!
Donate to Support the Public Safety Program
Mail in your Donation - Click here for Donation Form
Other Safety Information
Block Captain Contact List
Public Safety Tips
Find out what you can do to prepare for an emergency - DC Emergency Preparedness Resources
Special thanks to our Community Partner who generously support the CAG Public Safety Program:
Washington Fine Properties
CAG Public Safety Committee
- Diane Colasanto (Co-Chair)
- Rich Hinds (Co-Chair)
- Luca Pivato
- Bev Casserly
- Chip Dent
- Maggie Handel
- Brad Gray
- Jennifer Altemus