Red Hats step up to combat Chinatown crime

A D.C. man is tired of the violence, and taking things into his own hands. 

Leroy Thorpe and his relatively small patrol group are walking around Chinatown focused on helping police stop violent crime.

He and his crew will call the police if they see something suspicious, giving the cops extra community-based enforcement.


Chinatown and Shaw community members decry surging crime

Residents in Chinatown and the Shaw community told city leaders and police Thursday that they are sick and tired of the rampant crime.

In 1988, he founded the group Citizens Organized Patrol Efforts, also known as the Red Hats. 

Some people who live and work in the neighborhood told FOX 5 they’re concerned about assaults, robberies, carjackings, and loitering.


DC Safety Squad wants to end police brutality

DC Safety Squad members will be certified and trained in whatever they are responding to, including overdose reversal, mental health crises, and general safety and security.

They welcome the Red Hats and anyone else who can help.

Thorpe believes his patrol unit will "absolutely" make a difference.

"We basically engage with the people in a positive way," he explained. "A lot of people have mental illness down here, and they are drug addicted. We come with a humane approach." 

"Probably about 95% are very compliant with us, and move on," he added. 

The Metropolitan Police Department has been focused on stepping up patrols in Chinatown. FOX 5 talked to two restaurant employees, and they say these citizen patrols do help to deter crime.