Washington DC Launches Crime Alert Pilot Program — The District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA), the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and the Office of Unified Communications (OUC) today announced the launch of the Georgetown Community Crime Alert pilot program, a community-driven initiative that will send text messages to businesses that register to receive alerts about crimes committed in the neighborhood.

“The District of Columbia is committed to providing the high-quality police service. Business owners of Georgetown have taken this a step further by creating a program that assists officers in capturing those individuals involved in violent crimes,” said Mayor Fenty. “This is a perfect example of the community working together with the District to create a world-class city.”

The pilot uses the same technology that supports the Alert DC citizen emergency text alert program. Participating businesses register their contact information at http://72hours.dc.gov to receive text messages about crimes that are committed in Georgetown. When businesses report a crime, MPD officers will send a text message to participating businesses informing them about what has happened and giving them instructions on how to report a tip.

During the initial phase of the program, alerts will only be sent about violent crimes such as “assault with intent to kill” or “assault with a deadly weapon.” Ultimately, the program could expand to include other types of crimes such as robberies, shoplifting, missing persons and auto theft.

“Working cooperatively with MPD and the business community to expand the city’s emergency text alert program to include a crime alert program for businesses helps make the city safer for businesses and citizens, “said HSEMA Director Darrell Darnell. “Enhancing and improving public safety is a shared goal for all of us,” he said. “This is part of a collaborative effort to proactively engage the community by giving them real time information about what is happening in their neighborhoods,” said Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier.

The Georgetown Community Crime Alert program is the brainchild of Ed Solomon, Commissioner for ANC 2E01, who approached HSEMA and the former Second District commander about the possibility of using the citizen alert program to notify businesses about crimes. “

The response from the Georgetown business community to this initiative has been extremely supportive,” said Mr. Solomon. “This program allows businesses to be aware of crime activity in ‘real time.’” It also helps people to be better prepared for all types of emergencies and to participate in helping deter and solve crimes in the area. This partnership between MPD, HSEMA and the business community illustrates the power of community policing that Chief Lanier has been emphasizing,” he said.

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