Michelle Basch, wtop.com
WASHINGTON - The head of D.C.'s police union says crime in the city has increased significantly since the Occupy protesters came to town, a claim that the city's police chief calls crazy and ludicrous.
In a letter to Mayor Vincent Gray, Fraternal Order of Police Chairman Kristopher Baumann says overall crime in the city increased 10 percent and violent crime went up 13 percent between Oct. 1 and Dec. 15.
"The increase in crime overall and violent crime during the Occupy D.C. protest is but one of the negative results of the department having 400 fewer police officers, and officers being taken out of the neighborhoods in order to monitor Occupy D.C.," Baumann writes in the letter he sent to the Mayor Wednesday.
Police Chief Cathy Lanier called Baumann's claims "ludicrous" during a Friday press conference.
"We deal with protests in the city -- about 2,800 protests and special events a year," says Lanier. "This is what we do. We do it every day, and we did it every day before Occupy came here."
Lanier says protests are mainly handled by Special Operations Officers -- not officers who usually work in neighborhoods.
"When we do have large events and we pull people from the community and from the neighborhoods, we do that on overtime most often so that we're not pulling from the neighborhoods. And if we do have to pull on duty people from the neighborhoods we try to keep it to two or three per district. So it does not have an impact on crime," says the Chief.
Lanier adds certain types of crimes usually go up between October and January.
In his letter, Baumann acknowledges that crime often increases this time of year.
"These numbers are year-to-date comparisons, so they account for the holiday spike in crime. This is a dramatic increase on top of the holiday spike," he writes.
Lanier says that the most serious crimes like burglaries, robberies, armed robberies, homicides, and shootings are all going down.
"Do we periodically see things go up and down? Absolutely, based on the time of year. But to blame that on Occupy is just - I think - crazy."
You can read Baumann's entire letter here (PDF).
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