Recently there has been a significant increase in some types of calls in Midtown (and throughout the City). Three areas stand out: Shots Fired, Burglary, and Theft from Auto (TFA).
June 2019 Midtown: 1 June 2020 Midtown: 3
June 2019 Citywide: 11 June 2020 Citywide: 29
It is my belief that we will continue to see a surge in shots fired incidents, and so far July is trending that way. Tragically a firearms related homicide took place recently, but we have been very fortunate in that few of these incidents have resulted in serious injury or death, despite many occupied homes being struck and large quantities of rounds being fired. MPD will continue to vigorously respond to and investigate these events, and my district team works with the Violent Crimes Unit (VCU) and all are committed to identifying suspects and making arrests when probable cause is achieved.
However, the sheer volume of these incidents and the ongoing resources committed to daily protest activities present significant challenges to investigating these crimes. COVID protocols and multiple extended shifts and staffing holds (due in large part to the protests) have impacted the capacity of my team and MPD field personnel in general. Where this is most keenly felt is in our reduced ability to be proactive--and perhaps prevent these incidents--but even our direct presence may not be enough to stop violent behaviors. When I was the downtown Captain, it was a commonplace occurrence for disturbances and fights to break out in the presence of officers, sometimes multiple officers. Recently, officers responded to a shots fired on Allied Dr. Almost the entire night-shift for Midtown responded and positioned near the park. While those 4 officers were across from the park, and clearly observed by the crowd therein, a second shots fired took place.
Our capacity to respond to, and our ability to prevent violence, are finite, now more than ever. We continue to work in partnership with the community to address problems and know that community based solutions often have positive impacts. And we need you to call if you see (or hear) violent behavior. Recently there was a shots fired incident where residents heard the shots around 12:30 AM, but no call was made. Later that morning, a person out walking found a number of shell-casings nearby and called (thank you!). We were fortunate that evidence was still there, but it is best to call right away so we can respond, make sure no one is hurt, collect evidence, and more effectively investigate and work towards stopping future incidents.
June 2019 Midtown: 11 June 2020 Midtown: 17
It isn't right that we can't leave our doors unlocked, but doing so makes you particularly vulnerable to being burgled. Lock your doors and windows and keep valuables out of sight. Keep your garage door closed even if you are home. If you have expensive coin collections, firearms, or other high-value items, do your best to not broadcast that information. Camera systems and motion lights are great, but few things beat a locked door. Please make sure all your doors--including the garage--are locked! MPD's Burglary Crimes Unit (BCU) is working hard to investigate the dramatic surge in these crimes, but they too are under tremendous strain with the increased volume, protest activity, and prioritization of violent crime response. We need your help: lock your doors!
Theft from Autos:
June 2019 Midtown: 27 June 2020 Midtown: 50
In addition to keeping your car locked (and in a locked garage if you have one), don't keep important stuff in your car--we routinely receive reports of firearms, vehicle titles, important work items like laptops and etc. being stolen out of cars. Do not keep your keys in your car, and if you park your car on the street, consider keeping your garage door opener in your house.
As with shots fired, I expect that there will continue to be a spike in property crimes. However, many burglaries and theft from autos are committed by a small group; sometimes it only takes one license plate, photo, or report to MPD to identify and arrest these perpetrators, so be vigilant and call us if you think you have suspect information.
Finally, thank you to the many, many residents and business owners in the Midtown district that have sent cards, food, emails, and letters all in support of the officers who are patrolling your streets and doing their utmost, under incredibly challenging circumstances, to keep you safe. It is truly appreciated and I am so grateful for the well-wishes.