The owner of the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals is considering hiring off-duty police officers to patrol the streets around Capital One Arena as crime in the neighborhood is rising.
The arena was a bright turning point for downtown D.C. when it opened in 1997, but a steady rise in crime in the area since 2020 has changed things.
Break-ins are a frequent burden for business owners in the Chinatown/Penn Quarter neighborhood.
People leaving the arena after a game or event have been being targeted for robbery and other crimes.
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A detail from D.C. police’s Special Operations Division handles closing F Street in front of the arena on game days, but city officials say the department does not have enough officers to increase patrols downtown as it battles a rise in gun violence in other parts of the city.
Monumental Sports & Entertainment says the organization has increased the number of off-duty D.C. police officers it pays to work inside at Capital One Arena events by 20% over the past year. They’re called reimbursable detail officers.
In a statement provided to News4, Senior Vice President for Communications Anu Rangappa indicated thought is being given to a somewhat unusual idea: paying off-duty officers to patrol the surrounding streets.
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“Together with our DowntownBID partners, we are also evaluating the most effective use of Reimbursable Detail Officers (RDOs) to patrol around our Chinatown neighborhood,” the statement said.
It’s unclear whether Monumental Sports has had any discussion about this with D.C. police.
Off-duty officers hired by businesses are not currently allowed to work on public property, according to the D.C. police website.
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