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MPD: D.C. hot spots could mean more crime

Thursday - 4/11/2013, 3:52pm  ET

John Aaron, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Many D.C. neighborhoods are being reshaped, but along with growth comes new safety concerns like the ones faced by already established areas.

D.C police have been looking at 14 parts of the city that are either experiencing rapid growth, or have experienced it in the past few years. Speaking at the National Press Club, Police Chief Cathy Lanier said the department is training officers to patrol booming areas like H Street NE, U Street NW, NoMa and the Capitol Riverfront.

While many of the areas will likely be made up of businesses and residences, "some of them are very clearly going to be nightlife," she said.

Lanier believes an area with 10 bars per block is enough to put a strain on the police force. She says a block in Adams Morgan has 38 bars, which draws officers away from surrounding neighborhoods at closing time. As a result, many people who are walking away from the area are left unprotected.

"What happens to them? Somebody's waiting to rob them, or has already broken into their car that they've parked ten blocks out," Lanier said.

When it comes to spots like H Street, Lanier wants to send a message:

"There's going to be police presence here," she said. "There's going to be proper transportation to get you in and out of the area so you're not walking 10, 12 blocks to try and get home or get to your car."

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