The District’s Orange Hat neighborhood patrols have long been documenting every street nuisance imaginable, from burned-out lamps to open-air drug markets. But what about off-street nuisances? Since Oct. 2, the Orange Hatters have no longer had a monopoly on the colorful-cap-wearing watch-group market: A group of Columbia Heights apartments has launched a “Blue Hat Patrol” to handle indoor safety affairs. Yvonne Smith, the Metropolitan Police Department outreach coordinator who organized the patrol, says the group chose navy-blue caps to avoid confusion with the outdoor groups. In their debut patrol, the Blue Hatters studied every light bulb and stairwell in the Cromwell Apartment Building in the 1500 block of Ogden Street NW. Their tally: a malfunctioning fire alarm, missing fire hoses, and an unlocked boiler room. Other apartment complexes, Smith says, are intrigued: “I’ve already spoken with Blue Hatters about training other Blue Hat patrols.” —Dave Jamieson

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