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Mr. WHITENER. All right, we will make that a part of the record. (The document referred to follows:) PEOPLES DRUG STORES INCORPORATED AND SUBSIDIARY CORPORATIONS,
Washington, D.O., February 9, 1967. THE PRESIDENT, The White House, Washington, D.C.
MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: I should like to endorse the letter sent to you recently by the District of Columbia Clearing House Association respecting crime in the District of Columbia,
There can hardly be any dispute as to the magnitude of the problem. The overall statistics on incidence of crime in the District tell the story accurately, but it is possible that the appalling significance of those statistics may be blurred by their generality.
As I realize only too keenly, "robberies per thousand population” translates into actual robbers in actual stores jeopardizing the lives of actual men and women. I attach a list of the robberies and burglaries committed in my company's stores in the District of Columbia metropolitan area since January 1, 1966. As you will see, in the past 56 weeks Peoples Drug Stores in this area have been the scene of 31 armed robberies and 62 burglaries, and the pace of these crimes is accelerating rather than abating.
The dollar loss to Peoples Drug Stores during this period—$116,000, none of it, insured—is obviously heavy. But the threat to the lives and well being of our employees and customers is of a much more serious order. Every crime listed in the attachment carried the seeds of grave human tragedy, and in some instances violence did indeed occur.
Just this past week the assistant manager of one of our stores was kidnapped at his Maryland home, pistol-whipped, and bound and gagged by four criminals who forced him to return to our District store so that they could gain entry to the store and the safe and secure cash and narcotics. They left him, still bound and gagged, in his car. The very next day at another of our stores, armed robbers at 8: 40 in the morning, forced 7 of our employees and 20 customers to lie on the floor and robbed the store of cash and narcotics.
Or consider our experience at a single store. On November 6, 1966, that store was robbed of $6,910.93. On January 8, 1967, the manager of the store was accosted at gun point by three robbers, forced to re-enter the store, open the safe, and turn over cash and narcotics. Upon leaving, the criminals knocked him unconscious. On January 22, 1967, this same manager, upon opening the store, was again faced by armed robbers who forced him to open the safe and to turn over cash and narcotics. Finally, on January 25, 1967, the police apprehended five persons burglarizing the store. The manager and all employees tendered their resignations and it was necessary to close the store permanently.
I cite these figures not because they are unusual, but because I have no reason to think they are not representative. Indeed, the burden of crime has not fallen as heavily upon my company as upon others in our community. We have been spared loss of life, but there are families whose breadwinner has been cut down by robbers. We are a large company, but there are small merchants to whom robbery and burglary has meant financial ruin.
I, and those who share my anxiety, are greatly heartened by your demonstrated concern about crime, both nationally and in the District, where the federal government has a special responsibility. While I do not pretend to be equipped to evaluate the particulars of your legislative proposals or the recommendations of the District of Columbia Crime Commission, certainly your policy of a two-pronged attack upon both the sources and the effects of crime should command widespread support. If disagreements arise over particular ingredients of an anti-crime program, it is my hope that in any event those disagreements will not prevent the Congress and the community from uniting in unstint. ing support of those measures as to which there can be no reasonable dispute. The urgency of the problem surely demands no less.
I am confident that the stockholders, employees and customers of Peoples Drug Stores join me in pledging our cooperation in your efforts to give meaning in our community to the principle that, as you put it to the Congress, “public order is the first business of government." Very truly yours,
G. B. BURRUS, President and Chairman of the Board.
Peoples Drug Stores, Inc.---Losses due to burglaries & armed robberies in the Metro
politan Washington area, 1966
Mr. JESINA. The problem of crime in the District of Columbia is as acute today as it was on the date of our letter, and we cannot foresee any immediate abatement of the problem. Our customers are afraid to be on the streets at night and our employees are afraid to work at night. In fact, many of them have refused to work at night which greatly affects the service which we provide the community.
Crime affects not only the business of this community, but the daily life of each and every one of us. The need for public order is urgent. During the last fifteen months in the Washington metropolitan area Peoples Drug Stores have been subjected to 101 various robberies and burglaries, resulting in a total loss of $121,000.
However, we are well aware of the past efforts and interests of this Committee in trying to bring law and order to the District of Columbia, and it is our sincere hope that you will again act as vigorously as you have in the past. Certainly there can be no reasonable dispute for this need. To your efforts we pledge our cooperation. Thank you very much.
Mr. WHITENER. Thank you very much, Mr. Jesina. Now we have Mr. Brubaker, Executive Vice President of Building Owners and Managers Associations.
STATEMENT OF WAYNE 0. BRUBAKER, THE BUILDING OWNERS AND MANAGERS ASSOCIATION OF METROPOLITAN WASHINGTON
Mr. BRUBAKER. Mr. Chairman, my name is Wayne (). Brubaker. I am Executive Vice President of the Building Owners and Managers Association of Metropolitan Washington. The members of the Association are owners and managers of office buildings and apartment houses. They are concerned with and affected by the ravages of crime. Some time ago the Board of Directors endorsed a resolution authorizing a letter to be sent the President Johnson.
We are not experts in solving crimes nor are we qualified to solve the social problems that breed crime. We do know firsthand that the consequences are costly. The owners of property suffer untold loss, and employees and tenants in all types of rental property experience property losses and, in many instances, suffer physical abuse.
It is not an uncommon occurrence for the furniture in the lobby of an apartment to be stolen during the night. In many buildings the lobby furniture is bolted to the floor to prevent such loss. Theft of money from automatic washing machines is a foregone conclusion. Today the owners of such equipment consider that a cost of doing business. Their fear is that vandals will wreck the machines necessitating a replacement of costly equipment.
Thefts in oflice buildings at Christmas time is such a problem that the Association has for years sent to its members recommended notices for tenants. These notices contain suggestions that are designed to protect the property of the tenants. The problem is now a year-round one. The Association has presently underway a project to prepare a new notice for year-round use. I have been in touch with our National Association, and it is furnishing material on this subject from other cities.
I think the muggings and murders of employees and tenants have been adequately covered by the press. By not commenting on them I do not mean to imply we do not consider them critical. We most
certainly do! What I want to emphasize, however, is the factor that is never evaluated and that is the lasting effect all of these criminal acts have on the future of a building. The owner's greatest problem is how to handle the employee and tenant relations after a serious crime has been committed in his building.
In this short time we have tried to indicate the fact our industry is affected by crime and considers crime a serious problem today. We are supplementing our words with deeds. We are supporting the coordinated efforts of the Board of Trade both financially and with manpower. In our own activities we are doing what we can to keep our members informed through publications and seminars. We hope the Congress will provide the means necessary to combat the immediate problems now and will continue to support the long range projects now underway.
If the Association can be of assistance to this Committee by furnishing detailed information or by developing answers to specific questions, we will do everything in our power to satisfy your requirements.
We thank you for this opportunity to present our views. I ask that a copy our our letter to the President be made a part of the record.
(The letter referred to follows:)
BUILDING OWNERS AND MANAGERS ASSOCIATION
OF METROPOLITAN WASHINGTON,
Washington, D.C. February 6, 1967.
DEAR MR. PRESIDENT:
Office building tenants are concerned with the safety of their employees and the employees' belongings during the day. They are also vitally interested in their property and equipment twenty-four hours a day.
You can certainly see from this that owners and managers of office buildings have an interest in crime prevention that transcends their primary desire to protect their investment in real estate.
The Executive Committee of the Building Owners and Managers Association has noted your express wish that others rally around the position stated by the Clearing House Association. Steps are now being taken to determine the manner in which the Association can concentrate its efforts in the most effective way. Sincerely,
MELTON D. HANEY, President. Mr. WHITENER. Mr. Godfrey Butler, Serior Vice President, D.C. Transit System, Incorporated.
STATEMENT OF GODFREY BUTLER, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT,
D.C. TRANSIT SYSTEM, INC.
Mr. BUTLER. Mr. Chairman, gentlemen of the Committee, my name is J. Godfrey Butler, Senior Vice President of D.C. Transit System, Inc., which is the major mass transit organization in the Metropolitan area of Washington.
We employ over 1900 bus drivers. Our service covers all portions of the District of Columbia and the adjacent sections of Montgomery and Prince Georges County in Maryland.
For many years our bus operators have been subjected to occasional robbery and infrequent assault, generally perpetrated by adults and nearly always accompanied by the use or threatened use of pistols, knives, bayonets or other weapons.
In recent years most of the robberies occurred late at night in outlying, sparsely settled, poorly illuminated areas. Most frequently at the lay over points of the bus lines. The amounts of money involved range from about $10 to about $150.
In addition to company funds, the robbers would occasionally re. lieve the bus operator of his own money and/or watch.
In 1966, the aggregate of company funds lost was less than $5,000, but the danger of personal injury to the bus operator and the actual bodily harm done on several occasions has made this problem one of considerable concern.
One remarkable change in the robbery situation had occurred in the recent months, now we find that most of the holdups are perpetrated by boys in the late teenage group. Also the robbers seem much more inclined to display freely and to use unnecessarily their weapons.
About a year ago when one of our bus drivers stopped to allow a customer to board, as soon as he opened the front door. He was shot by the man standing at the bus stop. The wound necessitated the removal of the kidney of the bus operator, and he is no longer able to continue his employment and has been pensioned for disability.
Another bus operator was robbed on six occasions within a twelve month period and his nerves were so shattered that the company had to transfer him to a job in the maintenance department.
Many other operators have been so intimidated when they were robbed that they resigned their jobs. At present we are experiencing holdups, assaults, robberies and larcenies at the rate of about 200 per year.
The Metropolitan Police Department has provided all possible protection within the limitation of their manpower.
Seriously, whenever a region is being patrolled by police, whether in uniform or in civilian clothes in unmarked vehicles, the robbers seem to be aware of this situation and do not attempt holdup. We are reluctant to consider abandonment of service in the areas where robberies most frequently occur.
Recently we've noticed that these crimes have been occurring at practically every hour of the day or night. Unfortunately there are seldom witnesses to the crime, so even if the robbers are apprehended it is not easy to obtain conviction.
Our company and the union representing our employees have jointly offered a reward of $1,000. for the arrest and conviction of the robber, but this has been paid on only six occasions in the last five years.
We appreciate the opportunity to appear here and we heartly endorse the position of the Board of Trade and the statement of those members of the Board of Trade with whom we have been privileged to be associated on this Committee to Stop Crime Now.
Thank you very much.