Police in Washington, D.C., are taking an active role in large-scale real estate developments to spot potential crime and safety issues. Chief Cathy L. Lanier is embedding police commanders with developers in the belief that the way things are built can influence the behaviors of criminals and potential victims, much as speed bumps can slow cars. Last month, police met with developers at the future site of the Wharf, a 27-acre waterfront project with millions of square feet of buildings, 20 restaurants, three hotels, 500 boat slips, a concert hall and festival grounds.
They pored over a scale model and discuss3e surveillance cameras and sight lines. The concept of police working with developers is not unique to Washington, but experts say Lanier's department is ahead of many of its peers. While some offer a stock list of design recommendations, D.C. police make specific suggestions about safety measures as blueprints are being drawn, well before the first buckets of concrete are poured. The District learned its lesson with Gallery Place, a cornerstone of redevelopment whose crowds and traffic have challenged police.