Residents from the Parker Gray and the Braddock Road Metro neighborhoods of Alexandria, Virginia last night for the Alexandria Police (APD) Community meeting held at the Charles Houston Recreation Center in Alexandria, Virginia. The neighborhood remain uneasy following the recent homicide on Montgomery Street that occurred last week. That was very evident at last night’s turnout.
The meeting was held to try and calm fears in the neighborhood, to give concerned residents an update on where the recent investigations stand, and for police to answer questions from the community.
Alexandria Mayor Allison Silberberg mentioned that she and City leaders had met with community leaders from the neighborhood and that she had received a call from the victim’s family and was planning to meet with them as well.
Alexandria Police Chief Earl Cook said Police do not have a suspect in the recent case and gave residents all of the information the department felt comfortable disclosing. But, he said, APD detectives are working very hard to resolve the case. He took a moment to commend his detectives that worked tirelessly for nearly a year to bring an arrest in a 2015 homicide that occurred in the neighborhood. He confirmed that police in this incident have determined that the incident is not gang-related and there were questions on crime by people who don’t live in the neighborhood. He also ENCOURAGED people to come forward in the case.
Police answered many questions from residents who are concerned and worried about safety in the area last night.
Chief Cook repeatedly went over how police resources are disbursed in the community and that there has been an increased police presence in the surrounding neighborhood to try and calm fears and said APD would readjust that presence as needed. Chief Cook said that there are APD officers getting out of their cars in the neighborhood to do more community policing. This is all geared to try and prevent crime.
The Chief mentioned, as any Police Chief would, that he could use more officers. I am told there is currently an APD staffing study that is complete and will be presented to the Alexandria City Council on Tuesday night. The Chief took several minutes to review ‘predictive policing’, the mathematical, predictive and analytical techniques in law enforcement to identify potential criminal activity.
Residents asked about calling the police.
The Chief mentioned preventing violent crime is number one priority for the police. Chief Cook said “Sometimes we don’t know a neighborhood needs services because people there don’t call for help. So call APD.” He reminded residents for emergency events, to call 911 – for all others, use the non-emergency number 703.746.4444 and the officer taking the call can determine the type of response needed. He took time to review what to expect from police after a call is received.
As in other community meetings, Chief Cook said “No call is too small, it’s our job to come by and check it out.” Chief Cook took a moment to remind ALL residents to be diligent & aware as Alexandria, Virginia is a dense city and an urban area and with that comes crime. “Alexandria is a safe city, it’s not a bad community to live in. The things we do TOGETHER make it safe,” said Chief Cook.
There was also a lot of talk about residents getting more involved in the community, not just when ‘serious things happen’.
For more, visit our LIVE blog of last night’s meeting.