Property Manager’s Group
The U.S. Attorney’s Office – D.C. in partnership with the Metropolitan Police Department, facilitatesProperty Manager’s and Owner’s groups in police districts 1, 3, 4, 7 and 8. The Property Manager’s meetings are specifically designed to address the concerns of property owners and property managers. During these meetings, property managers have an opportunity to meet and network with other property managers. They share and discover ways to address commonly shared public safety and quality of life issues, problems and concerns. This collaboration ultimately increases public safety and reduces crime through community partnership and problem solving.
Internet Safety Presentations
Internet Safety presentations are designed to inform youth about thedangers and risks of the internet, teach them social etiquette that will help them to be safer online and encourage them to have a dialogue with trusted adults in their lives about their online experiences. The youth are taught the three rules of internet safety: 1) tell a trusted adult if anything makes you feel sad, scared or confused; 2) never give out your personal information without parental permission and 3) never meet someone in person that you first met online.
The goal of Senior Seminars is to empower senior citizens to have the knowledge and resources to prevent, report, and reduce crimes against them. The seminar presenters include a victim witness specialist from USAODC who has experience working with older victims. We also include local government presenters from agencies like D.C. Adult Protective Services and D.C. Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. One of the major topics covered during these seminars is how to recognize the early signs of emotional, physical and financial abuse. We also provide seniors with resources as to where they can find help in the event they become victims of abuse. We have hosted approximately 25 senior seminars throughout Washington, DC during 2010.
Domestic Violence Presentation
Domestic Violence Seminars are designed to reach out to potential domestic violence victims to encourage them to report domestic violence and provide information about the various resources that USAODC and other agencies provide to domestic violence victims. The Domestic Violence programs are geared toward teens and for women who are reentering the community.
Muslim Outreach Initiative
The U.S. Attorney’s Office – D.C. launched its outreach to the Muslim community in 2010. On September 12, 2010, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen, Jr. and Principal Assistant Vincent Cohen participated in the 9/11 Unity Walk. This walk was born from the disaster of 9/11 and serves as a conduit in which Muslim, Sikh and Christians build bridges of interfaith understanding. U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen, Jr. Principal Assistant Vincent Cohen and Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney for External Affairs Wendy Pohlhaus attended a meeting at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Washington Field Office (FBI) with several Muslim and Sikh leaders. This meeting addressed the radicalization of Muslim youth and how law enforcement can partner with this community to end the threat to national security that radicalization causes. USAODC subsequently hosted another meeting with Muslim and Sikh leaders on October 25, 2010. The focus of this meeting was to hear from the community concerning their issues with law enforcement. During this meeting, the community expressed their distrust for law enforcement and frequently felt victimized by law enforcement. The USAODC and the Federal Bureau of Investigation will host future public forums throughout the year entitled the “Muslim-Sikh Community-Know Your Civil Rights.” These forums will include speakers from Homeland Security/TSA, FBI and MPD. We will conclude this public forum by asking the community what topics have relevance to their community and plan future forums on those topics. In addition, in order to bridge the gap between the Muslim and Sikh community and the community-at-large, USAODC will facilitate opportunities for dialogue between the communities at-large and the Muslim/Sikh community.
Finally, on November 23, 2010, USAODC met with Muslim women to gain a better understanding of how domestic violence impacts that community. In an effort to ensure that USAODC improves its efforts in prosecuting any domestic violence cases from this community, we will invite Muslim women leaders into our Office to provide cultural sensitivity training to prosecutors and victim-witness advocates.
Community Impact Statements
A Community Impact Statement is a description of how a crime or series of crimes have affected you and your community. This statement is submitted to the Court by prosecutors to provide information that can assist the Court in making sentencing decisions about offenders convicted of the crime(s). While the U.S. Attorney’s Office can’t guarantee what weight, if any, the court will give a community impact statement, information from the community has been helpful in the past in focusing the court on specific ways specific crimes impact particular neighborhoods. To make a community impact statement, you may use this form that will be given to the court at sentencing. You are encouraged to submit a single community impact statement on behalf of the entire community – speaking with one voice vastly increases the likelihood that your concerns will be heard loud and clear at sentencing. Victim Advocates are available at the U.S. Attorney’s Office to assist in preparing your community impact statement and can be reached at (202) 514-7130. Likewise, Community Prosecutors andCommunity Outreach Specialists from the U.S. Attorney’s Office are assigned to each police district and can work with you to identify appropriate cases in which to submit a community impact statement. Factors to consider in completing your statement:
(1) How has this crime affected you and your community?
(2) Has it had a negative effect on your community’s attitudes about itself? (For example, has the crime given rise in the community to feelings of anger, rage, vulnerability, fear, paranoia, hopelessness, frustration, or loss of trust and faith in society?)
(3) What is the social or economic impact of this crime on your neighborhood? (For example, are children kept indoors more, is it more difficult to safely use parks, are businesses less likely to stay or come to your neighborhood, have you spent more money or other resources as a result of being a crime victim?)
(4) What is needed to return your neighborhood to the conditions that existed prior to the crime being committed.
(5) What do you think is an appropriate sentence for this offense?
In order to allow time for your community impact statement to be submitted and fully considered by the sentencing judge, please return the completed community impact statements at least 10 days prior to the sentencing date to the USAODC Community Prosecution Office in your police district.
When submitting a Community Impact Statement, please provide the name, number, and address of a contact person, but do not put this information on the Community Impact Statement.
Victim Impact Statements
One of the very important tools that the US Attorney’s Office uses at sentencing is the victim impact statement. The purpose of the victim impact statement is multifold. First, the statement is designed to allow the court to hear from the victim about how being a victim of a crime has impacted or changed his or her life. The court cannot know the personal changes that occur in the lives of victims, unless victims make impact statements. Just as the court values hearing from victims for the reasons stated above, the government also is very concerned to know what sentence victims view as appropriate for defendants. This does not mean that the government will adopt that recommendation in all instances. However, it does mean that prosecutors will use that information, along with several other factors (e.g., the defendant’s criminal history, the nature of the crime) in fashioning an appropriate sentencing recommendation.
United States Attorney’s Office staff attend approximately sixty community meetings and events a month. These meetings are held by civic associations, local government, and the Metropolitan Police Department. During these meetings, in an effort to improve transparency in the criminal justice system, community prosecutors educate the community about our Office including giving insight on our bond determinations, charging decisions, and sentencing allocutions. We also educate the community about the inter-workings of the criminal justice system. In an effort to formalize this educational component, we have piloted a new program called “Witness for the Prosecution” Over a period of several sessions, this program educates the community about the criminal justice and our Office’s role in the criminal justice system. In the coming year, we should look towards expanding this program to marginalized communities, such as the Muslim, Ethiopian, Hispanic and Gay, Lesbian and Transgendered communities. Moreover, during these community meetings we receive various nuisance abatement complaints. In an effort to address and document these complaints, we have drafted a Nuisance Abatement form which standardized how we receive complaints and disseminate these complaints to the appropriate agency.
In an effort to engage the community not only in times of strife but calm, the USAODC has organized and attended various large scale community events. During this summer, we hosted a showing of a documentary depicting the history Barry Farms. In sponsoring this filming, we wanted to convey to this community that their legacy was not one of violent crime but of land ownership, entrepreneurship and community activism. We also engaged this community by organizing a halftime show at a Barry Farm Goodman League’s basketball game. During the halftime show, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and the Mathews Memorial Baptist Memorial’s step teams provided a show and promoted better decision making and ending violence. The United States Attorney also explained to the members of the community the importance of their role in the work we do as prosecutors and how their involvement is critical to keeping their neighborhood safe.