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On Memorial Day, 31-year-old mother Tamara Gliss was gunned down outside her apartment on the 600 block of O Street NW. On Aug. 10, a triple shooting broke out near 7th and O streets NW, leaving one man in critical condition. And just two Saturdays ago, 23-year-old Matthew Shlonsky, an American University grad, was killed near 7th and S streets NW.
These are just some of the incidents in the past few months that have led Shaw residents to call for greater police presence and security in their neighborhood. Today, those residents received a small but notable response to their demands in the form of security cameras on the O Street NW side of the Kennedy Recreation Center (1401 7th St. NW), across from where Gliss was shot.
D.C. Councilmember Charles Allen, who represents Ward 6, says he first asked the District Department of Parks and Recreation to install the cameras after the Memorial Day shooting. But it wasn’t until the triple shooting on Aug. 10 that DPR—facing additional pressure from the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission—took action, Allen says; sooner would have been better.
“I don’t know if [the cameras] would have stopped [the shooting], but [they] would have given us the ability to have better video,” Allen explains. “The people involved in the shooting didn’t cooperate with the [Metropolitan Police Department]. That sometimes happens and video helps.”
The councilmember, who didn’t have a specific number for the security cameras installed today, adds that an MPD tent erected on O Street NW after the shooting will likely remain until the end of the summer. With more foot patrols in Shaw, he says, community residents feel noticbly safer. What’s still needed is better programming for the Kennedy Recreation Center that makes it feel more like “a community hub,” Allen says. He’s had a few conversations about potential programs with DPR.
“O Street [has] been dark, unmonitored, [and] has felt unsafe,” Allen explains. “We’ve had a lot of public intoxication [near the Kennedy Recreation Center]. We’ve had a lot of craps-games and dice-rolling—things that are creating the feeling of an unsafe environment. That’s significant.”