City Paper is not for tourists
The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) has apparently given up trying to keep its officers from loitering in 7-Eleven stores and mooching free coffee on the night shift. Now they’re making 7-Elevens part of the beat. Armed with Slurpees and hot dogs, 7-Eleven is opening police community centers in all of its 18 D.C. outlets. At first glance the gesture looks like a cheap imitation of the 33 special police work stations set up last April at all of the District’s Mickey D’s. But 7-Eleven is outdoing McDonald’s by throwing in copy machines and a place to display free crime-prevention literature on top of the dedicated workspace and phone line that McDonald’s offers. “We were pleased to be the first city to establish the 7-Eleven program citywide,” says MPD Chief Larry D. Soulsby, who attended the opening gala for the centers this week. “These 7-Eleven police work stations will allow our officers greater opportunities to interact with the people they serve.” Or at least to be served by the people they interact with.
Washington’s Most Wanted Local cops were skeptical when retired MPD officer Ron Clarke tried to sell them on his new free monthly newspaper, The Capital Crusader. Part of a three-year-old network of crime-fighting news rags, the paper publishes mug shots of local thugs on the lam, as well as a more controversial listing of recently paroled Virginia sex offenderscomplete with home addresses. According to Clarke, a skeptical county sheriff became a believer after the Crusader helped net three arrests out of 12 county fugitive photos. With its third issue due out this week, the paper has already reported results in 15 cases, including the arrest of a suspect in a 1993 D.C. homicide. Clarke, a Charles County, Md., resident who is now the Washington Times’ security chief, says his inspiration stems from the recent murder of a 19-year-old pizza-shop employee in Charles County and the abduction and rape years ago of a close relative. He certainly isn’t in it for the money. Clarke and partner Chris Hunker have pulled most of the $1,500 in monthly production costs out of their own pockets. They currently distribute 20,000 copies in 450 locations all over the Washington metro area. The effort is rewarding, says Clarke, but it’s “killing the hell out of my car.”
Diplomatic Concerns While other city neighborhoods fret over drug dealers and prostitutes in their midst, residents of tony Kalorama Heights are pitted against a different urban scourge: diplomats. At an Oct. 8 meeting of the Kalorama Advisory Neighborhood Commission, more than 70 residents threw stones at a proposal from the Albanian government to turn an S Street NW house into a chancery. And just what sort of catastrophe would the Albanians bring? Parking problems, say the residents, who are unwilling to forfeit the reserved S Street parking spaces the chancery would occupy. Also, they argued, the chancery would be dark at night, drawing burglars to the neighborhood. And the plan would cost the District precious revenue if the housevalued at $1.1 millionis converted into tax-exempt diplomatic quarters. Irate Kalorama activists hurled their most pointed barbs at ANC commissioner Bob Hirshberg, the sole commissioner in favor of the proposal. “People were on the chairs, screaming. It was appalling,” says an attendee. Albanian Ambassador Lublin Dilja told Hirshberg the chancery will try to accommodate residents on parking, but it won’t hire security guards to watch the place at night.