Should ANC 5B residents have to wait for change to clean up the open-air drug market bounded by Bentwood Road, 14th Street, and Franklin Street Northeast? That\’s the question residents that have to contend with raising families alongside the row of stores that appear to front as a cover for an open-air drug market. Residents at the March 23rd ANC 5b meeting expressed their concerns that the growing sentiment from some law enforcement officers is that \”change is coming in 2018, so be patient\”. It\’s common knowledge that Brookland Manor, the apparent source of the drug traffickers, is targeted for major renovation in the next 2 years by Mid-City Financial.
Recent Shooting May Bring Changes
\” ALERT: This email is to inform you all that there has just been gun fire on the Brentwood Road strip right behind our houses on Franklin Street. At least 9 to 10 shots were fired in rapid succession. This happened just before 3:00 p.m. in the middle of the afternoon when school children are going and coming and my 75 year old neighbor goes out to pick up her grandson from school. The police are on the scene right now.
Maybe our Councilman will get a report about this and decide it is time for him to do something to deal with this ongoing problem of drug selling, gambling, prostitution, public drinking and urination on this strip before one of the city’s tax paying neighbors is shot or killed.\”
That was the email that went out last week from one of the residents who asked the question at last month\’s ANC meeting. This email and the cries of the Franklin Street residents may lead to a meeting with the Attorney General and MPD.
According to residents, the open air-drug market is well known by the 5th District Police department. According to the ANC commissioners, law enforcement is hindered by the fact that most of the activity is taking place on private property and the ability for the traffickers to easily retreat into one of the stores that appears to serve as cover. When you ask yourself should ANC 5B residents have to wait for change, consider the following.
Here\’s how one resident describes a typical day. \”My neighbors and I have called the police at least 3 times today because of the large group of young men who were loitering on the parking lot and in front of the businesses selling drugs and gambling . The liquor store owner is the only business that does not allow the men to loiter in their business, hang out in front of their store or run into their store to wait the police out when they come. There is also usually a light tan/beige jacket hanging on the fence behind the Chinese store or sometimes on the other side where we see persons frequently go to it and go in the pockets. I reported that today as well \”.
Secondly, 2018 is still 2 years away. Any number of drug transactions could go bad and result in violence or death. Third, a look down the Franklin Street side of this area reveals homes that create a peaceful, scenic view of Ward5. Finally, and probably most important is \”don\’t these long time residents deserve the same level of protection, future resident will receive?\” It was mentioned several times that loitering is not a crime in the District of Columbia. However, the 5B residents were quick to point out that this wouldn\’t be tolerated in Georgetown or other affluent Wards.
Should ANC 5B residents have to wait for change? Will cleaning up this eyesore happen before 2018? Will it happen before the long, summer nights only months away? Will a meeting with MPD and the Attorney general bring change? Only time will tell but one thing is for is is for sure: it will continue to be a topic of discussion at the upcoming ANC 5 B meetings.