Greater Greater Washington

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National Links: Hillary talks housing

Hillary Clinton is articulating her vision to help Americans with housing, what happens when people making decisions about transit don't know what it's like to depend on it, and a look at where row houses fit into the national landscape. Check out what's happening around the country in transportation, land use, and other related areas!


Photo by Veni on Flickr.

Hillary's housing hopes: Hillary Clinton wants living near quality jobs, schools, and transportation to be easier, and she's making affordable housing part of her agenda. Her proposal would boost funding for both programs that help people buy homes as well as public housing. (Virginia-Pilot)

Get the board on the bus: Given how much they influence how people get around, perhaps transit board members should ride the busor at least know details about the system they work on. Some recent applicants for the DART Board of Directors in Dallas are clueless when it comes to transit-oriented development and taxpaying riders. (Dallas Observer)

Reliant on row houses The row house is the workhorse of dense older cities around the country, but it's becoming less popular. It's possible that row houses could be the "missing middle" that can help address the country's housing needs. (Urban Omnibus)

Questioning King Car: Cars are a large part of American culture, like it or not. But they also cost a lot of money, time, and lives. Since September 11th, 2001, over 400,000 people have died in automobile collisions. Is that a worthwhile price to pay for convenience? (The Atlantic)

Bridges of Amsterdam city: Amsterdam has far more canals and bridges than the average city, but only one bridge runs across the large river that separates the more industrial side of the city from where most people live. There is a tunnel and a number of ferries, neither of which is idea for walking or biking. But as more development happens and free ferries are overwhelmed, a bridge may be the next step. (City Metric)

Struggling city streams: In the midwest, streams in urban places are rare. Detroit, for example, has lost 86% of its surface streams. That worries ecologists because streams regulate water flow and keep wildlife healthy. (Great Lakes Echo)

Are we building boredom?: Buildings designed like boxes are bad for us. Research shows that human excitement wanes on streets with boring facades, causing stress that affects our health and psychological wellbeing. (New York Magazine)

Quote of the Week

"I think it's important to remember that these are serious crimes with emotional consequences. It's interesting nonetheless to watch how burglars use architecture, but that isn't enough reason to treat them like folk heroes." - Architecture writer Geoff Manaugh discussing his new book, A Burglar's Guide to the City in Paste Magazine.

Public Safety


Ask GGW: How do you find crime reports for a neighborhood?

Have you ever seen a crime scene and later wondered what happened, or if the police weren't already there, whether someone let them know about it?


Photo by [puamella] on Flickr.

Jonathan Neeley, our staff editor, ran into this situation last week:

On my bike ride home, I saw that a large section of the Metro station parking lot was taped off, and there were officers and detectives all over the place. I asked one of them what had happened and he just said "a fight." I went on my way, but wanted to know more.

How can I find crime reports most easily? Should I expect to be able to find info online about what I saw, or is there a good chance there's nothing out there?

For a general search of crime reports, you can go to CrimeReports and look up any location in the US or Canada. The site has data on recently-reported crimes that will show up on a map, categorized by types like theft (a "T" on the site's maps) and robbery ("R"). Not all reported crimes will appear on the map, however.


Screenshot of CrimeReports by the author.

Abigail Zenner says that her Metropolitan Police District has a robust email list that you can subscribe to. "I get the digest and scan it to see the crime report in my neighborhood," she says. "There is also usually an officer who does community outreach and provides the crime report at ANC and citizen association meetings. If what you see is in your own neighborhood, you may be able to find a contact person through the people who host those meetings."

David Alpert adds that each police district is broken up into Police Service Areas (PSAs), and some PSAs have a regular meeting that's separate from the ANC. This page lists the lieutenants in charge of each PSA, who residents can also contact about crime issues.

You may also find more specific information using the Metropolitan Police Department's DC Crime Map.

Perhaps you witness a crime and want to make sure the right people know about it. In DC, you can file a police report online using the Citizens Online Reporting Tool (CORT). This tool offers a way to make quick reports that do not necessarily require a police officer or a witness to take the information from you. You can use it to report property loss, damage, or theft, particularly theft of or from a car and lost tags.

Maryland and Virginia

In Montgomery County, you can check the police department site directly. Residents can look up which police district they are in and view a map of its boundaries. Montgomery's police department also has a Crime Reporting System for filing police reports online. Similar to DC's CORT tool, not all types of crimes can be filed through the online system.

Prince George's County's police site also links to its Crime Solvers, Inc. site, which has a link to CrimeReports for searching.

Kevin Beekman says Alexandria's police department uses a site called RAIDS Online (Regional Analysis and Information Sharing), which is a crime mapping site like CrimeReports. It also provides analytics, e-mail reports, and tips for the public. They have an online database too.


Screenshot of RAIDS Online website by the author.

Fairfax County has links to multiple resources for finding information about crime in the county from its Crime in Our County page. The links include annual crime reports and crime mapping. To file police reports and to use their online reporting system, residents can go to their Complaints and Concerns page.

Do you have a question? Each week, we'll pose a question to the Greater Greater Washington contributors and post appropriate parts of the discussion. You can suggest questions by emailing ask@ggwash.org. Questions about factual topics are most likely to be chosen. Thanks!

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