D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier announced a military-style checkpoint yesterday to stop cars this weekend in a Northeast Washington neighborhood inundated by gun violence, saying it will help keep criminals out of the area, reports the city’s Post. Starting Saturday, officers will check drivers’ identification and ask whether they have a “legitimate purpose” to be in the Trinidad area, such as going to a doctor or church or visiting friends or relatives. If not, the drivers will be turned away.
The Neighborhood Safety Zone initiative is the latest crime-fighting attempt by Lanier and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, who have been under pressure from residents to stop a recent surge in violence. Last weekend was especially bloody, with seven slayings, including three in the Trinidad area. The checkpoint will take place at random hours and last for at least five days. The strategy is patterned after a similar effort conducted years ago in New York.