The BID Launches Safety Initiative Aimed to Enhance Public Safety in Penn Quarter-Chinatown


On April 1, 2024, the DowntownDC BID launched the Penn Quarter-Chinatown Safety Team in a bid to bolster public safety and foster a welcoming environment in the Penn Quarter-Chinatown area. Funded through the Safe Commercial Corridors Grant and administered by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice, this initiative marks a significant step towards addressing public safety priorities in the Chinatown corridor.

“Cultivating a vibrant and safe urban environment lies at the heart of our mission at DowntownDC BID. The launch of the Penn Quarter Chinatown Safety Team signifies a pivotal moment in our ongoing commitment to fostering a sense of security and hospitality within our community,” said DowntownDC BID President and CEO Gerren Price. “Through collaboration, innovation, and a shared vision for a safer future, we are proud to lead this initiative, ensuring that DowntownDC remains a destination where all can thrive.”

Operating through September 30, 2024, with potential expansion, the safety team will operate every day of the week and is comprised of 10 team members rotating between various shifts. The Penn Quarter-Chinatown Safety team is strategically deployed based on pedestrian foot traffic data. Their coverage area spans the entire Penn Quarter-Chinatown neighborhood from the Convention Center to Indiana Plaza.

Team members are tasked with monitoring and observing the area, reporting both emergency incidents through 9-1-1 and non-emergency incidents through a DowntownDC BID reporting app. They will actively engage with the public, embodying hospitality ambassador traits to foster positive relationships within the community.

“The safety team will be more than just a presence; they will serve as a friendly face in the neighborhood, offering assistance, conducting business check-ins, and providing safety escort services upon request,” remarked the DowntownDC BID Director of Public Space Operations Lukas Umana. Umana oversees a team of Safety/Hospitality and Maintenance (SAM) ambassadors who help keep Downtown D.C. clean 362 days a year.

Success metrics for the program include improved deployment decisions in collaboration with city government agencies and the Metropolitan Police Department, as well as the perception survey results before and after the initiative’s implementation. Ultimately, the goal is to enhance stakeholder and visitor confidence in the safety and vibrancy of the Chinatown Corridor, laying the groundwork for a stronger partnership between all stakeholders involved.

The BID is gathering valuable input from the public through our Safety Perception Survey. Your participation in this survey will provide us with essential data and insights that will help guide our efforts to enhance safety measures and address community concerns. Take the survey NOW!