The Metropolitan Police Department has recently increased patrols in Georgetown ‘s business district in response to an upswing in shoplifting on M Street and Wisconsin Avenue. According to an email from Second District Commander Mark Carter, the officers who are part of this increase have been reassigned from separate late night patrols.
“We’ve seen an increase of gangs of kids making a run on stores,” Doug Smith, the president of the Georgetown Business Improvement District, said.
In addition to the increased police patrols, MPD has begun to place decoy cars in the business district and has installed police log books in businesses, according to Crystal Sullivan, the Chair of the Georgetown Business Improvement District’s Public Safety Committee
“A lot of independent businesses have been asking for independent patrols. It’s a great deterrent,” Katie Curtin, the assistant manager of Urban Chic on Wisconsin Avenue, said.
Last Thursday an unknown suspect shoplifted $26 worth of merchandise from Urban Chic. Barney’s of New York on M Street was also a victim of shoplifting last week when a suspect stole a $100 sweater from a display table.
Sullivan said he feels that recent shoplifting incidents in Georgetown are also indicative of a broader, lasting trend.
“There’s been a rise in shoplifting in the entire region, not just Georgetown specifically,” she said.
Smith believes the trend may have stemmed from economic troubles.
“You see some level of theft and robbery as the economy begins to turn,” Smith said. “This is something we saw coming, and it’s playing out.”
According to Sullivan, BID will continue to work with MPD and is planning a meeting with local businesses to discuss ways they can deter crime in their stores. BID is also distributing surveys to area stores to collect additional information on crime.
“They’ve checked in a little more,” Curtin said. “From our perspective, they’ve been very helpful.”