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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19, 1967
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE No. 4 OF THE
Wizshington, D.C. The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:20 a.m., in Room 1310, Longworth House Office Building, Honorable Basil L. Whitener (Chairman of the Subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Whitener, Adams, Nelsen, Harsha, Gude, and Steiger.
Also present : James T. Clark, Clerk; Hayden S. Garber, Counsel; Sara Watson, Assistant Counsel; Donald Tubridy, Minority Clerk; Leonard 0. Hilder, Investigator.
Mr. WHITENER. The subcommittee will come to order. We will continue with our hearings on various bills relating to the subject of crime and criminal procedure in the District of Columbia.
Our first witness on the agenda today is Mr. Leonard B. Doggett, Jr., President of the Metropolitan Washington Board of Trade. Dó you have any companions with you from your organization?
Mr. DOGGETT. Yes, sir; we certainly do.
STATEMENT OF LEONARD B. DOGGETT, JR., PRESIDENT, METRO
POLITAN WASHINGTON BOARD OF TRADE
Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee, I am Leonard B. Doggett, Jr. I am a native Washingtonian and I have been engaged in the business started by my late father in the District of Columbia all of my adult life. I am currently the President of the Metropolitan Washington Board of Trade which was organized in 1889 and which is the oldest and largest voluntary membership organization of business and professional leaders in this National Capital community. I appear here today in that capacity.
I wish to express our appreciation to this Committee for its invitation to present our views concerning a number of legislative proposals to reduce crime and make our city a safer place in which to live. This is a subject in which the Board of Trade has long been interested. We strongly supported the Omnibus Crime Bill enacted by Congress during the last session and were one of the groups which urged the President to approve that legislation.
We fully recognize that there are many basic contributing causes of crime associated with poverty and the lack of opportunity, and we endorse many of the recommendations made by the D.C. Crime Commission and other agencies as desirable and essential to long range good citizen building and crime reducing objectives. Appropriate committees of the Board of Trade are actively pursuing these matters and will, from time to time when legislation is needed, make recommendations for such action by the appropriate committees of Congress.
Let me take just a minute here to state for the record that the business community, through the Metropolitan Washington Board of Trade, is and has been for several years engaged in a number of activities aimed at improving the lot of those lacking opportunity and, at the same time, reducing crime, particularly those committed by young people. The major thrust of these activities carried on in increasing number concerns job opportunities for all those unemployed, but mainly for the young people just completing school or those unemployed during the summer vacation.
Next month an estimated 3,000 youngsters who will graduate from high school and who have no plans for additional education will be interviewed during our Job Opportunity Week at the National Guard Armory by 35 major employers and employer groups in an effort to place them in full time employment.
This year, for the third time, we are also encouraging business houses to provide summer employment opportunities for students on summer vacation with particular concern and interest for students from low income families and in low income sections of our community.
We are also deeply interested in providing wholesome recreational facilities year round but especially during the summer vacations for young disadvantaged people. Last year, as an example, business houses of this community, at the urging of the Board of Trade, contributed approximately $70,000 to Vice President Humphrey's campaign to provide lighting on many unlit recreational facilities.
May I say in passing that I do not believe that the D. C. Recreation Department is producing its full potential out of the facilities which are under its control and from the programs which it conducts during the summer period. Our information is that some other communities are doing a better job. We are told that the City of New York last year carried on an especially noteworthy program, and representatives of the Board of Trade will, within the next week, visit New York and secure full information about the program carried on there last year so that we can encourage the adoption of its most desirable features here.
Meanwhile the crime rate in Washington keeps increasing, and it is perfectly evident that steps must be taken promptly to halt and reverse this increase and, as far as humanly possible, to do it now. Accordingly, just a few weeks ago we set up a new Committee to Reduce Crime Now. This committee was created because the business community is greatly concerned for the safety of the citizens of Metropolitan Washington, for their employees, for their customers, their homes and their business properties. As an indication of the widespread concern of the business community in this objective, let me read the list of business associations which have joined with us in activating the Committee to Reduce Crime Now: Building Owners and Managers Association. D.C. Area Trucking Association. D.C. Association of Insurance Agents.
D.C. Bankers Association.
All responsible agencies of the Washington community are encouraged to work with the Committee in attaining its goal of making the Nation's Capital a safer place in which to live. The Committee's objective is to deal with the immediate problem we have in this community of coping with the hard core criminal element which, obviously, has no regard for the law. We believe that the best way to deter this criminal element, which is a very small percentage of the generally law abiding, responsible citizens of this community, is by quick apprehension, speedy trials, and swift, sure and just punishments which fit the crimes.
When criminals know there is a strong likelihood of severe punishment, there will be a significant reduction in the crime rate.
I have alluded to the basic contributing causes of crime involved with poverty and the lack of opportunity, and I want to re-emphasize their importance. But it is interesting to note that during the Great Depression of the Early 1930's when there was widespread poverty, there was no upsurge in the crime rate. Crime, actually decreased, and from 1931 to 1935 this was true even though the population of the country grew by several million.
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, with this brief statement concerning the general interest and philosophy of the Metropolitan Washington Board of Trade and the business community, I will ask the Acting Chairman of our Committee to Reduce Crime Now, Mr. William McGee, to review their specific recommendations which have been approved by the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Washington Board of Trade. Mr. McGee is accompanied by the Committee's counsel, Mr. Thomas A. Flannery, who will be available to handle technical and legal questions.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM MOGEE, ACTING CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE
TO REDUCE CRIME NOW, ACCOMPANIED BY THOMAS A. FLANNERY, COUNSEL
Mr. McGEE. Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, I am happy to have this opportunity of presenting a statement outlining the objectives, policies and recommendations of our newly formed Committee to Reduce Crime Now.
For your information, let me supplement Mr. Doggett's comments about the composition of the Committee to Reduce Crime Now by emphasizing that we do and will enlist the support of all organizations and the general public in the work we are attempting to do. In addition to the organizations mentioned by Mr. Doggett, we have a working relationship with 17 chambers of commerce throughout Metropolitan Washington. Our Committee also includes in its membership a number of top business leaders as well as representatives of the organizations associated with us.
At about the time the Committee to Reduce Crime Now was formed the staff of the Board of Trade conducted a “Cost of Crime Survey to broaden the information developed by Peoples Drug Stores which will be provided for the Committee by their representative later. This Survey included 35 major firms doing business in Metropolitan Washington and shows cash, merchandise, and damage to property losses from robberies, burglaries and planned thefts. It does not include losses as a result of shoplifting and pilferage.
These 35 firms reported that in 1966 their losses totaled $503,000 of which approximately $109,000 was in Maryland, $26,000 in Virginia, and $296,000 in the District of Columbia.
Cost-of-crime survey, completed Feb. 26, 1967
$26, 328. 65
5, 084. 77
15, 684.91 34, 665.00 22, 858.00
88, 661. 42
18, 574. 12
15, 823. 46
2, 021.60 2, 062. 12
District of Columbia..
1. 684. 89 4,800.00
600.00 12, 623. 70 198, 945. 57
1,770, 79 4,800.00 4, 180.00
600.00 36, 933 04 248, 042.08
3, 546. 03
73, 445. 72
3, 546. 03
296, 325. 91
327, 902.76 171, 339.75
6, 629. 38
432, 242.75 171, 339. 75
503, 582. 50
11 firm, metropolitan area total only.
So that the Committee's mission may be clear, let me restate our general philosophy that the improvement of the enlarging crime problem requires the development of long range solutions as well as an immediate attack on actual criminal activities. We recognize that successfully dealing with these troublesome activities is going to require a great amount of time and money and the strengthening and modernizing of our complete system of dealing with criminals.
Many of these things which will need to be done go beyond the legislation with which the District Committee is now concerned, but I would like to briefly review several major objectives which are essential to a solution of these vexing problems.
Pursant to our conclusion that the most effective deterrent to crime is swift and realistic certain punishment, we have agreed that the Court of General Sessions needs to be strengthened. We hope to see legislation promptly enacted which will place five additional judges on this Court, increase the salaries paid so that the most capable men can continue to be attracted, and lengthen the current tenure of 10 years' duration. Obviously such an enlarged bench will need additional courthouse facilities.
Furthermore, in order to speed up the administration of justice, we have concluded that it will be essential to increase the staff of the prosecution offices—both the District Attorney's and the Corporation Counsel's.
Moreover, we have concluded that the Probation Department is woefully understaffed. The Court's Probation Officers now handle much more work than is recommended as standard, and we hope to secure appropriations which will enable the Court to expand the Department and pay high salaries.
We are deeply concerned with the handicaps under which the Metropolitan Police Department operates. In our opinion, the policeman in the District of Columbia is underpaid. Starting salaries should be increased from $6,700 to a sum sufficient to attract the needed men.
We are also concerned about the inability of the Department to recruit additional personnel. Raising salaries will help some but, in addition, we believe that there should be opportunity for more rapid advancement in the Department than is presently generally available.
We are unalterably opposed to any Towering of standards in the recruitment of new policemen as has been suggested from time to time. In our judgment, the present recruitment standards must be maintained and hopefully raised in order to get the kind of law enforcement officers which are needed under today's conditions.
The Police Department should also be given additional money for improved communication facilities and other modern-day weapons with which to fight crime.
But I think a very important factor which cannot be legislated or appropriated is that the Police Department needs the support and the cooperation of the public which it does not now receive in many cases. The public should demonstrate to the police that we appreciate the wonderful job they are doing in protecting us from the criminal. The policeman should be a person who is respected and admired rather than one who is criticized and belittled as so often happens in these days. We intend to carry on activities seeking this kind of public