WASHINGTON - Although crime is on the rise in the District, residents throughout the city are showing support for D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier. On Wednesday night, she spoke to residents and listened to their concerns at a Fifth District community meeting.
These meetings have been going on for the past few weeks and Chief Lanier has been attending them. She answered everyone's question at this meeting and stayed until the end.
Lanier made a lot of points here regarding the crime spike in the city over the summer. She said there have been fewer shootings, but more deaths. She attributes that to guns with high-capacity magazines.
D.C.'s Office of Unified Communications, the office that manages 911 calls in the city, says at the beginning of summer, they were averaging roughly 3,700 calls to 911. Now, they are averaging 5,000 calls.
The most alarming statistic that was stated by Chief Lanier is that there has been a 95 percent increase in homicides in the Seventh District -- largely in Ward 8.
However, residents here at the meeting said they have Lanier's back.
"She's not committing murders," said Ward 5 resident Timothy Thomas. "She has officers deployed out on the street and we have to go past Cathy Lanier and we have to figure out how we can stop this violence that's going on. It's not about Cathy Lanier. It's about the violence out on the street."
"I appreciate all she has done and is trying to do," said another D.C. resident at the meeting. "She said she can't be everywhere at one time. No police officer can be everywhere at the same time. Someone is going to get killed if the police officer is on the same corner because you cannot stop a bullet. If someone wants to come and kill you, whether the police are standing there or not, that's what they're going to do."
Chief Lanier said recently that she has been to every single homicide scene east of the river and we have seen her presence as well on the other side of the river as well as in these meetings.
She did receive a no confidence vote from about 1,100 officers -- a small fraction of total police department. But we asked her what it feels like to have the unwavering support of the residents here in Ward 5.
"It feels good, but you know, you don't ever take anything for granted," Lanier said. "We got a tough job and a lot of work to do and the officers are working at 300 percent and trying to keep them motivated, energetic and keeping the community on our side and with us. That's an every minute and every day fight and we can't get weary now. We've come too far to let our guard down now.
"We've had spikes before and we will knock this spike back down. But we have all got to stick together and just stay on it and I think that's the message we got here tonight."