Chief Lanier: Struck Occupy protesters stepped in front of cars

(WTOP/Paul D. Shinkman)

WASHINGTON — D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier was a guest Thursday on WTOP’s “Ask the Chief” program with Mark Segraves.

The chief revealed new information about an incident earlier in November in which one or more vehicles struck Occupy D.C. protesters outside the D.C. convention center.

There was more than one vehicle, Chief Lanier says. One tried to get through “a small gap” in the crowd, and some of the protesters moved in front of the car.

“It clearly doesn’t look like he intentionally tried to run them down,” she says.

Lanier says she predicted the 32 percent rise in “snatch robberies” in recent weeks, due primarily to the recent release of the new iPhone4S and other sought-after devices.

“We knew it would,” she says, adding people who have these kinds of expensive devices should be very careful when walking down the street, or sitting at an outdoor table.

There has also been a recent spike in robberies at establishments like 7-Eleven, Lanier says. The police department has put out YouTube videos, like the one below, to help people become more aware of their surroundings.

Learn more about a crime spree against cab drivers, police digitally recording license plate information en masse and where D.C. cops live by listening to the full audio at right, or checking out this live blog:

10:57 a.m., while speaking about videotaping police officers:

Officers are so focused on protecting the identities of children and other people who are not involved. Sometimes they forget that as long as the area is open to the public, reporters and cameramen can video. I can see how sometimes this confuses the officers.

10:54 a.m., while speaking about a business trip to Dubai:

I’ll be one of four representatives from the U.S. as a part of a global symposium on law enforcement. It’s only 3 days. I typically don’t travel as chief, but this is a very important symposium and I think we can learn a lot from it.

No cost to the city, all provided by the organizers of the conference.

10:52 a.m., while speaking about crime against cab drivers:

We had a spree, about 11, of carjackings and robberies over a short period of time. We have made some arrests in those cases. We do think it was more than one group involved. We arrested a 15-year-old and 25-year-old working together.

We recently put out YouTube videos to help locals be more aware of their surroundings.

In the last four days, we’ve had a spike in robberies at establishments like 7-Eleven.

10:45 a.m., while speaking about breathalyzer tests for holiday DUIs:

Our arrests for alcohol enforcement have been the same in previous years. If you’re being taken for a breathalyzer test, you’ve already been arrested for other behavior. That doesn’t change in our enforcement.

10:42 a.m., while speaking about traffic stops blocking lanes during rush hour:

“It’s an example of ‘Darned if you do, darned if you don’t.'”

If someone is creating a safety issue, we need to address that.

For so many years, we were focused on fighting the violent crime and didn’t do a lot of focus on traffic management.

10:36 a.m., while speaking about license plate scanners, which save information for 3 years:

It’s the same thing law enforcement did on pen and paper for years. It’s the same principle, it’s just automated now. We don’t go sorting through the system for general purposed, we need a criminal predicate to look through it.

It would be impossible to think we had the time or desire to do otherwise.

We’ve made more than 50 arrests this year finding stolen cars.

10:33 a.m., while speaking about the D.C. Fire chief saying firefighters live up to 40 miles away, some in states as far away as New Jersey and North Carolina:

We can create all kinds of incentives for people to live close by. For special units, we have benefits for those who live closer so they can be recalled quickly.

10:26 a.m., while speaking about carjackings:

Carjackings are down about 34 percent to 35 percent. We’ve been doing pretty well with that.

The big issue I see this time of year is people at gas stations. I can’t stress this enough: Take your keys out of the ignition while you’re pumping the gas.

10:24 a.m., while speaking about protesters struck by cars at the Convention Center:

We haven’t determined it was the same driver. It appears that driver was trying to get through a small gap, and the Occupy protesters put themselves in front of the car.

“It clearly doesn’t look like he intentionally tried to run them down.”

10:23 a.m., while speaking about ‘snatch robberies':

32 percent above last year. We knew it would, when the new iPhone4 came out.

You need to be very careful walking down the street with one, or having on an outdoor caf

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