Reader Reminders to Stay Alert – Reports of Muggings This Week

Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr. T in DC

“Dear PoP,

On Wednesday night, April 27, my dad, my boyfriend, and I were walking from Wonderland to my apartment. Walking down 11th st around 11:30 PM, two African -American men, in their twenties in dark clothes followed us for a while. Once we were crossing Monroe on 11th, they walked away from us toward 13th street so we ignored our odd feelings about them following us too close. As we crossed Monroe to continue down 11th to Otis Pl, they hurried up behind us and the taller one pulled his hood over his head and came behind my boyfriend, while the smaller one (about 5’10”) came up in front of my father and me and took out a gun, telling us to give them our wallets and phones. At no point did they yell or curse, they really drew very little attention to themselves except pointing a gun at my stomach and at my father. They took our wallets and phones, and my father’s keys, and patted down my boyfriend looking for anything he had. They then turned around and ran in the opposite direction (toward Monroe, away from Otis), and when my dad hollered at them asking for his keys so he could get home, they threw them down on the pavement as they ran. It was an odd and frightening experience, and we called the police. Just wanted to let people know what was going on in case anyone can use the information to protect themselves.”


“Dear PoP,

I wanted to pass on a pretty scary occurrence from Saturday night/Sunday morning. I’m sure at least one commenter will make a comment about drinking/being aware of your surroundings, but that’s ok. I mean this more as a PSA regarding safety in our city.

I was walking home from a bar on 18th street at a little after 2 on Sunday morning. I know Ontario/Champlain/Kalorama streets are notoriously dangerous late at night, so I opted for a different route, cutting down Florida, up 16th, and took left onto Belmont. From my recollection, I encountered a group of teens halfway up the hill. They did not ask for any money, etc, but just started punching. I did not fight back, and they eventually stopped hitting me, took my keys, cash, and cell phone and took off.

I went to the ER yesterday morning and was really lucky – no bleeding in the brain, no broken bones. Just a really badly bruised face, and some stitches in an ear. A police report has been filed, and I’m sure they will step up patrols of the area.

Just wanted everyone to know what happened and where to help keep others safe.”

And from the Brookland listserv last night under the heading armed robbery:

“Dear neighbors,
I got robbed at gunpoint this evening walking the 2 blocks from Brookland Metro to my house. Be careful out there …. and if you run across a big teal blue ratty looking shoulder bag, please let me know. Maybe they didn’t keep my library book.”

209 Comment

  • Welcome to Vince Gray’s One City.

    • Don’t be a douchebag. Like this has anything to do with the friggin mayor.

      • I disagree. It’s a mentality that the city is being returned to the old guard. You have Barry and Kwame’s father basically telling people that whitey is the devil ad destroying DC. Muggers feel emboldened and start to believe they are taking what they deserve.

        There’s also a feeling that Gray has no interest in augmenting the police force; plus, has Gray said anything regarding the rash of stabbings, muggings, and shootings??? I think he’s too busy staging fake arrests to boost his image and make people forget how corrupt he is.

        We would do well to impeach Gray before things get worse over the next 3 years.

        • Hmmm. Interesting point of view. I do doubt that petty thieves follow politics, but the lackadaisical attitude of Gray is bothersome.

          • I agree that they don’t follow politics, but their grandmothers do. Not that their grandmothers tell them to steal stuff, but these kids get a sense of the direction the city is heading, and they can pick up on the mood.

            Don’t get me wrong: I still think the city is headed in the right direction generally-speaking, and in ten years, things will be even better, but I am not as positive for the immediate future and predict an increase in crime for the next 1-3 years. I say 3 because I have no faith in Gray to address the issues, and I say 1 year because, well, ther’e always hope that I’m wrong.

        • The vibe (rightly or wrongly) that the mayor is lackadaisical aside, the MPD has been upping patrols in some neighborhoods. In the past few weeks there has been either a patrol car or uniformed officers hanging around 11th and Lamont and the corner of 11th and Park. I’ve also noticed a greater presence on a few blocks down in Shaw on Georgia Ave.

          • The car at 11th and Lamont is an officer on patrol or duty. She lives on that block and parks her car on the street when she’s off duty. She also has a bad attitude and does not represent MPD favorably.

          • How large is the MPD? Something like 3500 officers now? That’s unacceptable for a city of DC’s size and level of crime. There should be twice that at least, and they should be regularly busting people for the smallest crap: littering, spitting, public urination, disturbing the peace, fare-jumping, etc. Then, you’d start catching kids with guns, knives, drugs, etc. and getting them of the streets and into the system before they get too bold.

            Of course, Gray will never endorse this, because these are “good kids”

          • The officer at 11 and Lamont has always been pleasant to me!

            And, yes, there is a consistent presence there – throughout the evenings police cars are often parked in the Linens and Things parking lot. I’ve haven’t noticed any recent uptick, though.

        • You may be on to something. Hopefully this uptick in violence and crime can just be attributed to the change in seasons

          @ DC Rizz I have noticed increased presence lately as well but I am hearing reports that DC police force is dwindling due to budget cuts.

      • THANK YOU

    • + 1000000000000000000000000000000000000

  • My house near 9th and Decatur was burglarized on Wednesday. My computer, external hard drives containing 13 years worth of my photography, TV, Wii, several cameras (both film and digital) and some gold jewelry was stolen. I was told by the very kind police officer who responded that there were two groups of people picked up on the same day for burglaries within a 5 block radius of my house.

    This is mostly an FYI for other Petworth residents to be on the lookout for oddities in the neighborhood and to not be complacent with security systems they may have (as I was) and to make sure they have adequate homeowners’ or renters’ insurance (which I did not). However, I’d also like to know if there are other people out there who have had burglaries recently and, if so, what steps they have taken to recover any stolen items and what they have done to feel safe in their houses again.

    • Sorry to hear about your experience, and I hope you get back at least some of your irreplaceable items.

      I am surprised by the TV, usually they only seem to take what they can easily carry. Was it a small TV?

      How did they make entry and what was the response of your alarm system?

      • Thanks. The TV was 32 inch flat screen. Pretty light and not too awkward to carry.

        There was no forced entry so we assume that they had a key – or could pick locks. The alarm system was not armed which was my fault entirely.

    • Check any pawn shops around your area. Also, if you haven’t, check if any of the police you worked with know where some of this stuff ends up. When my house was burgled one of the responding cops knew generally where the kids sell the stuff and suggested checking there…my roommate who had the most taken didn’t have luck but it may be worth trying.

      • I have a list of pawn shops to visit this week, but I’ll check with the officers to see of they can tell me where else I can look. Thanks.

    • That sucks. I stopped doing localized external backups of my data. I always suggest people do remove backups like Backblaze for their data. Also, always password-protect your machine and firmware (if you have a Mac). Using a crypto file system also helps.

      I’ve only been robbed once, but my roommate was a wedding photographer, and they took all of her stuff and almost none of mine. Since she was self-employed, though, she had a ton of insurance.

      I had no insurance, but I only lost an old laptop I didn’t use and had no personal information, and a pretty nice bike.

      As for jewelry, has anyone else had the issue that it is nearly impossible to find an available safe deposit box at any bank in DC? I’ve called them all, and they have wait lists that are years long. Sounds like a business opportunity.

      • I was able to walk into the Capital One at McPherson Square and get a safe deposit box on the spot a couple of months ago.

        • Good to know – thanks. I have some crap way out in VA. Total pain. Suntrust and Citibank told me I could put my name on a wait list in DC but expect to wait 2-3 years.

      • Yeah, once I get a new computer, I am planning to set up a system that backs up my stuff off-site. It was a mac and is password protected. There are all sorts of things that I would have done differently in hind sight. All of which I am trying to remedy now so I do not have problems in the future if I lose hardware.

        • Another suggestion someone gave me is that you can set up a bogus “guest” account on your laptop, and there are companies that will install remote-monitoring software to track your computer and turn on the camera if someone logs onto the internet from that laptop.

          You can make the guest account largely read-only with no private information. I think is one that I’ve heard about but have never used any of them.

          Not sure what their recovery rate is, but most criminals are so dumb that I wouldn’t be surprised if they took the bait and logged onto the guest account.

          Sorry you lost your data, but I’m glad nobody else can get at it.

  • How scary. Glad you’re all (reasonably) okay.

  • I’m curious about the two guys mentioned in the first incident. I live between 11 and 13 a bit south but in the past few weeks there have been two 20-something guys that I have seen tailing women walking in the neighborhood. On one occasion they stopped to let a woman on her cell phone pass, then followed eventually getting much closer. I was on my bike and followed them because it was so creepy and I was concerned. Eventually a guy came out of his house and ended up in front of the guys at which time they looked around, stopped and ducked in to an alley. I stopped the woman to talk to her a remind her that it might not be the best idea to be on your phone dangling your purse without keeping it close. She said she’d had a feeling she was being followed. I’ve seen these guys do this a few times and they generally just loiter around so it’s really not appropriate to go to the cops and say “hey there are two totally sketchy dudes following people on my block but i haven’t seen them do anything” but it’s still totally creepy and I wish there was something…

    • If you see them doing it again, snap a photo of them if there is any way to do it discretely. It could come in handy if there is another “incident” involving guys that fit the description.

    • You can (and should) call the police for incidents like this. They priortize calls, so you’re not going to take police away from more pressing business, and the police I’ve spoken with are always happy to get a heads up on sketchy behavior in the neighborhood they’re patrolling.

      • There was a sketchy person on my block (2400 Ontario) just sitting on a suitcase for a number of hours the other day and I used the police text number (50411) to report it (especially considering the homicide the day before on 2300 Ontario). Within an hour a few cops showed up on my street. Don’t know what happened but the sketchy subject was not there later in the evening. Pays to be vigilant.

      • If you call 911 what exactly do you report? Is there a better/more immediate way to contact police that might be on patrol or at least aware of the issue?

        My experience (25 years in CH) is extremely hit or miss in regard to “sketchy characters who might do something” reporting.

    • I’m curious, too. My husband got mugged (well, they tried; they didn’t get anything because he’s a moron and fought back) about a year ago by two late teens/20-something guys on Otis between 13th and Holmeade around 8pm. They took off toward 11th. One smaller/shorter guy and one tall, over 6-feet, heavy-set guy. Clearly this could be a very common combination of people, but it seems awfully coincidental if there are lots of other incidents in a few block area involving two people of this description…

      • What description is that exactly. Two black guys in their teens or early twenties? Hold on let me look out my window. I see them, call 911.

    • Please take a photo and call the cops next time you see them! I hope everyone in the neighborhood does the same.

      I’m upset that there was a mugging at all, but seriously disturbed that a gun was involved.

    • Hi dcmer610,

      I was with the OP during this incident. The two guys had black jackets on. It was at night, about 11:30. One had his hood up tight around his face. The other had a close trimmed beard. The hooded one was taller and skinny, maybe 6 feet or more and 170 lbs. The one with the beard had the gun, was about 5’10” and had short hair as well, medium build, maybe 180 pounds. Like you said, two 20 something guys working together in a really sketchy way. They boxed us in as if they had definitely done this before.

      If you see two guys that match this description again, I’d recommend you calling the cops, especially if they can be linked to other muggings.

  • Not heard yet of any crime on that block of Belmont — this hits close to home. I always feel safe walking up there because of the security guard stationed at the entrance to Beekman Place. I wonder if the mugging was in view of the guard…

    • Hey twentythousandnine- The mugging was out of view of the security guard, but there was one on duty, and she helped me after the fact. Obviously all the security guards are well aware of what happened and I expect they’ll be much more vigilant for the foreseeable future.

      • Thanks for your response Timmy. I’m very sorry to hear about the experience you had. I am glad the Beekman security are aware and I also hope the Meridian Int’l Center staff and security know about the situation too, as their back entrance opens onto Belmont near the curve to 17th St. It’s generally a very quiet, secure block so I’m pretty upset to hear this kind of crime happened here.

        • twentythousandnine – again, I really appreciate the concern. I too have always found the block to be safe, quiet, and somewhat immune from what goes on a few blocks north on 17th. I do recall a robbery with a shotgun at the corner of 17th and Crescent on the night of the inauguration. But anyway, Beekman’s management told me that they would contact the management of the Meridian House, the International Center (who knew these were separate?), and 1661 Crescent.

  • To all the stories, yikes, sorry anyone has to go through that.
    At least the first one got his keys back. The 2nd story seems like a bunch of bored kids looking to bother people. While I would love to see these folks in jail, thats not the answer because they’ll just come out and do it again. We need some better parental control of these teens. I wish council would get on some bills to punish the parents.

    • We need our own Bernard Goetz!

    • I can only hope that what you mean by “putting them in jail isn’t the answer” doesn’t mean that you don’t think these thugs should be locked up? They senselessly and without provocation pummeled someone to the point where they had to go to the ER. That’s psychopathic behavior, and there’s no way that these thugs should be on the street.

      I absolutely agree that the lack of parental guidance and control here is astonishing, and I would love to see some kind of penalty imposed upon the parents of these kids. But these punks absolutely belong in jail. Throw the book at them.

    • While I would love to see these folks in jail, thats not the answer because they’ll just come out and do it again.

      If you put someone in jail for 25 years for armed robbery, it’s likely they will not just come out and do it again. And more importantly, they sure as fuck won’t be doing it for a decade and a half.

      • Agreed Dr Pangloss!

        I’ll say it again. Force these kids to go to Military School or join the Military (if they are old enough). Jail/Prison is temporary solution to the problem.

      • Why wouldn’t they? With 25 years in jail they’d have few skills. Even if they did through job training, no one will hire them. Most landlords wouldn’t rent to them. And then what option would they have OTHER than crime to support themselves?

        • Right, but we’d have a 25 year hiatus from crime. And the kids who are committing violent crimes in DC are a tiny fraction of all kids. And a good percentage of the kids who are stirring up trouble are still going to be committing crimes when they’re in their 20s, 30s, and 40s.

          So basically, we can identify them early, and give them a 25 year hiatus on the rare occasion they’re caught (and convicted), or we can let them commit violent crimes over that 25 year period. I’m sure their law-abiding peers–you know, the one’s they’re preying on every day–would thank us for the respite. And everything we know about crime tells us that the crime folks over 30 engage in is considerably less violent and random than that folks under 30 engage in.

  • I think it’s important to call the police when you see things like that happening as you pass by (guys following a woman in a sketchy way). A year ago, I was sexually assaulted on the metro, and the police officer told me that it’s always a good idea to call 911 if you see anything suspicious, even if you’re not sure it’s anything legitimate. That’s what the police are there for, and it greatly increases the chances of people like this being caught if the police are called before or during the actual attack.

  • I feel for all of you, but I am left wondering why do people insist on walking home late night?

    Cabs aren’t expensive and a whole lot cheaper than a trip to the ER and iPhone.

      • well, at some point, all these reports and publicity about muggings have to put folks on notice that there is a good chance of being mugged on the streets at night. at some point, it’s a choice between subjecting yourself to that risk or taking a cab. of course the victims aren’t responsible for the crimes, but they are responsible for their choices once they have all the information. and the information is increasingly out there.

        • Actually, the more people walking on the street DECREASES the likelyhood that people will be mugged. You need eyes on the street.

        • My hunch is that it’s you who doesn’t have all the information and your want to blame victims here is based on the occasional PoP report of a mugging or an uptick in muggings in a certain area. It’s a relatively common human phenomenon to focus on the hits (reports of muggings) rather than the misses (reports of not being mugged, which don’t exist).

          I’m not Pollyanna about my neighborhood, but you’ve got to understand that the chances of being mugged on 11th street are extremely low.

          • sure, but the chances go up at night and the reports of muggings are increasing. there is a reported risk. if you leave the bar, or work, or the metro at night, you can choose to walk, take a bus, or a cab. until the risk is lower than it is now, I take a bus or cab. Those who walk may have what you call an “extremely low” chance of being mugged, but it’s a much higher chance than if they don’t walk.

          • There is also a calculated risk in taking a cab-The driver could mug or assault you.

          • The chances of being mugged anywhere in DC are extremely low. The chances of being mugged on 11th Street seem significantly higher than most any place in DC. In the last year there were 123 robberies within 1500 feet of Wonderland. The year before that 132. There were 47 ADWs in the last 12 months. Sure there are a lot of potential targets, but still, within 1500 feet of Wonderland there is a robbery more often than 1 every 3 days.

      • If somebody’s Mother let their 10 year old child walk home from the metro alone at night, and the kid got attacked, most of you would assign some responsibility to the Mother for letting her kid walk home alone at that hour.

        Well, we’re all adults, and we don’t need Mom to tell us not to be stupid and walk home from the metro alone at night, we can tell ourselves that. And if we don’t take advantage of other safer ways to get home, and we get mugged, we should assign ourselves some responsibility.

        That’s not blaming the victim. The muggers are the ones solely at fault for the crime itself. But the getting mugged? Different story.

    • I’d rather open myself up to the risk of an occasional mugging than live in fear of walking around my own neighborhood.

      And these instances are rare enough where you’re likely just plain wrong about the cost-benefit analysis of cabs vs. walking from Wonderland to 11th and Otis. I could probably buy 200 cab rides before I get jacked on that walk, probably more. At $7/ride, that’s $1400.

    • Walking home on a Spring night is much more enjoyable than taking a cab. I try not to live in fear. The people who commit these crimes do not own the streets, so I don’t act like they do. Normal precautions and being aware of your surroundings is important, but seriously you don’t want us to walk to our homes at night, ever?

      • you do what you want. you have free will. you can make choices. but in a high crime area, with a zillion reports of muggings, you don’t get to claim complete innocence when you choose an unsafe mode of transportation over a safe one because “the people who commit these crimes do not own the streets.”

        well, they kinda do. they have guns. the police aren’t around.

        • Hmm, well I’ve been living in a “high crime” area for about 6 years now and almost never take a cab. Also, I have never been mugged or witnessed a crime. In fact, I never felt unsafe until I started reading this blog. I am glad that I’m more aware of the crime that occurs now, but I’m going to keep living my life the way that I have been for 6 years. And you better believe I will claim 100% innocence if I ever do get mugged. It is the mugger’s wrongdoing alone. At least, that’s the kind of society that I believe I live in.

          • your belief, your perception, is in contradiction with the facts.

            the muggers are out there, and can act with impunity for the most part.

            if you choose to ignore that fact, you are partly responsible if you suffer the consequences. you are not morally wrong, the muggers are the complete wrongdoers. but you are partly responsible for what happens because you made the conscious choice to ignore the facts.

          • “your belief, your perception, is in contradiction with the facts.”

            He/she said that they do not feel unsafe and have never been mugged. pardon my bluntness, but who the hell are you to say these feelings are “in contradiction with the facts”? Whose facts? If LCM has never been mugged and feels safe in his/her neighborhood, who are you to claim otherwise?

            Central DC ain’t suburbia. We’ve got crime here, and people need to take basic precautions. But hopping in a cab every time you need to go a few blocks? Living in constant fear that every time you step foot outside your door you are going to be mugged, beaten, or worse? That’s called paranoia. And if that’s how you feel, then move to Rockville.

          • Anon @ 12:21, agreed!

            As I mentioned upthread, there’s also a risk in taking a cab. The driver could steal from you or assault you. He knows where you live. (You could get off a block away, but then you have to walk.) You could be seen as an easy target because you are standing in one place trying to hail a cab instead of moving. There is risk in everything we do. It’s unreasonable to expect people to live their lives in fear and to blame them when they are the victims of crime. I believe a lot of people do this because they find it comforting to think that they will never be victims because they take the necessary precautions.

        • Somebody tell this troll to fuck off…..

          • disagreeing is not trolling.

          • Fuck off Troll!

            I can afford to take a cab home every night that I get off work. Some people have to be frugal in our spending douchelord!

          • Disagreeing? Give me a break…

            You ask why people choose to walk home, obviously walking 5 blocks is ridiculously more efficient than hailing a cab. It perhaps is more dangerous, but nowhere the danger you imply it is.

            This is a city. Of course we are aware of the “dangers” of walking. But as many muggings as you read about there are “A ZILLION” more people who just walked the fuck home. The danger is not that serious, this is why we moved and live here.

            What makes taking a cab safe and innocent while walking is oh so dangerous? People get assaulted and robbed in cabs too. We should just all ride around in tanks with miniature armies to be deemed innocent right? Otherwise we are just begging to be robbed.

          • Haha “douchelord”. I’m using that.

    • what if you only live 4 blocks away? are you supposed to take a cab?

    • Cabs don’t stop for some people or won’t go to some neighborhoods or they’re too close or not around…


    • Hey, since you have all the answers, help me out – so, 11th is one way between Monroe and Otis, and I live on that block. So a cab drops me off before Monroe and walk to my house…which is exactly where the mugging happened.

  • Wonderland patrons seem to be a hot commodity to these roving goons. I remember that a gang of thugs attempted to rob me steps outside of Wonderland Ballroom a few years back.. on INAUGURATION NIGHT no less. Change indeed.

    • If everyone would just spend all their money drinking at the bars before going home, there would be no reason to mug them.

  • Not saying I’ll always be immune, but I am thankful for my stature because I am sure it has shielded me from muggings.

    At 6’2 and 235 lbs, my old ass has never had to deal with an attempted mugging. Hope it stays that way.

    • Same here. Being a big dude helps.

      I worry constantly about my much much smaller fiance though.

      • Being large doesn’t necessarily preclude you from being attacked–I think some of these punks view it as a challenge. I’m 6’3″ 225 and I was jumped by a swarm of punks 1/2 block from 15th and U a few years ago 2 days before Christmas. Motorists heading north up 15th proceeded merrily on their way–it must have looked like a pack of jackals attempting to bring down a cape buffalo . . . .

        • saf

          I keep laughing at your name. That’s good!

          (Your story is sad, but the nametag is great.)

        • what was the outcome?

          • Two knocked down–one of whom did not move as I stepped over him and into oncoming traffic on 15th to escape. I honestly couldn’t tell the police how I knocked them down until I examined my right elbow, which was swollen and discolored, and felt the stiffness in my left wrist, which had been surgically repaired about 9 months prior.

            I told the police that I was only able to make one conscious decision during the entire encounter, which probably lasted about 60-90 seconds–do I step over the exposed throat of the POS lying on the sidewalk as I head to safety or clip him with a heel-strike? When I told the police officer that I omitted the heel-strike as I stepped over he let out an audible “DAMN!”

            I’m sure the police know–but are unwilling to admit–that the random beatings will not stop until people start fighting back with some measure of success. NOTE: I am not talking about muggings clearly motivated by robbery–especially when a weapon is present. I am merely talking about “bored kids” who want to use your head as a tetherball, as they did to me before instinct finally kicked in.

  • I agree jail isn’t a great solution, but at a certain point you have to draw the line. That guy could have been killed – it’s time for more than ‘better parental control.’

    • If certain neighbors of mine are any indication, the parents don’t give a crap and are likely criminals themselves.

      • I say throw both the teenagers AND their parents in jail. Get these sociopaths off the streets, and keep them there for a good long time. I’m socially liberal in many ways, but after living in DC for 15 years, I yearn for strict, even draconian law and order measures.

        • 10 years in San Francisco and 7 years here have about gotten me to this point as well.

          Infinitely worse in San Francisco, where some misguided (extremely liberal) people actually defended crack dealers and crack whores as “microbusinesspeople” whose civil liberties to conduct business and earn money were threatened by the evil police sweeps, and whose “natural habitats” were threatened by gentrification.

          When you are pooping in front of Macy’s at noon on a Tuesday in Union Square, I think you have waived any privacy concerns.

          • I am also getting there myself, and by getting there I mean pooping in front of Macy’s at noon on a Tuesday.

        • I’m getting there myself. I’m extremely socially liberal (I think the dems are conservatives), and I thought it was my age catching up with me that was bringing out the republican feelings. But really, it’s just the people peeing in my alley. :p

        • There is no single solution. It is both a social problem with the broken down family unit and an enforcement problem. I almost wish we had a mayor that had the courage to try to reform some of the basic systems in place like education that was looking to throw out the old way of doing things to restore hope and a promise of a new and better future for some of these kids. I am sure the residents of the district would embrace such a mayor. Oh wait …. my bad …

          • For real, TG.

            That’s really where the frustration resides for me: there’s no single solution to this, because the root of the problem is so complex.

            That *anyone* must tolerate getting beaten, mugged or having a gun thrust in their face is beyond maddening, but where do you direct the blame? There are the kids themselves, of course. But they don’t just spontaneously pick up that kind of behavior–it’s learned from somewhere. There are the parents, who are frequently completely disengaged from the lives of their children 9and, in some cases, themselves criminals). There is the persistance of cyclical extreme poverty, inept social services, a poor education system, etc.

            A good place to start would be to throw the book at the kids committing these acts, pass and enforce laws that hold the parents accountable for their children’s actions, raise policing efforts in troubled neighborhoods, and continue to focus on improvements to the city’s school system and social services programs. the status quo is completely unacceptable.

  • Sort of related – anyone hear about the “flash mob robbery” in Dupot Circle?

    Clockwork Orange is becoming real.

  • I actually just recently bought a bike for this very reason – so that I didn’t have to walk back to my block in Columbia Heights alone at night.

    I know that biking home has got to be much safer, but I’m wondering if any bikers have experienced problems with muggings, etc?

    • I think the family of Neil Godleski can vouch that biking late at night is just as dangerous.

      • This is so sad. However I would say biking still is safer than walking, by the fact if you stay on the street and move fast you are less likely to be seen as an opportunity.

        • One thing that I will do is that when I’m biking by a sketchy area, I will turn off my front bike light. Give them less chance to see you coming.

          • Seriously? The paranoia on this blog is rising to new heights. The bike light is so you don’t get creamed by a car! It’s not like there are roving packs of lions/teenagers waiting to take down bikes in the dark!

    • Ride on the road, not the sidewalk, and if anyone gets in your way, run him over. Even if you only weigh 100 lbs, the force of impact at 15 mph will break bones.

      • Bad idea. You would probably be hurt and the other guy (cause its rarely just one guy) will definitely want to hurt you.

        • You’re right. Ride on the sidewalk and if anyone tries to stop you, politely stop, get off your bike, hand him all your valuables (including your bike), and then patiently wait to get punched in the face or worse. Thanks.

          • It’s not an either-or proposition. How about “take care to avoid individuals or groups of individuals who appear threatening”? Why is that not an acceptable response?

          • This just points out the idiocy of Anonymous comments upthread…

            But I ALWAYS had to tell my ex-GF to NOT call me walking home down Taylor St. despite her FEELING safer by hearing my voice. Just walk quickly and keep your head on a swivel.

          • Whoops this was supposed to be in response to Kate C.

    • You still have to be aware of your surroundings.

      In Philadelphia, there is a housing project in a rapidly gentrifying area of town called Queen’s Village. One of the main bikes routes through town was directly next to the project. You’d often hear stories of bar tenders and wait staff getting mugged when riding home after closing at night. My understanding is that the muggers would shove sticks into the spokes of bikes–then beat the people up after they fell and take their stuff.


    • It’s a good idea, but a few years ago in a former city one of the worst muggings i ever heard of happened to a biker in broad daylight. Kids threw a stick threw his wheels so he crashed, beat him almost to death and then took his wallet.

      Not to scare you.

      And I generally DO believe it’s safer on a bike.

      But be careful.

  • Heavy police presence at 14th and U Street yesterday. 2 unmarked vehicles, each with 4 cops in plainclothes and vests. 4 marked vehicles.

    Good to see on one hand, bad that’s it’s gotten so bad on the other.

    And note to Cafe St. Ex – when you have empty tables on your patio, a full bar inside and you refuse to serve people who aren’t there for dinner, you lose future business.

    • ha, I hate st ex’s policy about that too. I understand if it’s prime hours, but I’ve tried to get drinks at 5pm before when only 1 other table is taken but we were denied. don’t restaurants make money from the alcohol anyway? I even got a lot of shit from some waitress that acted like we were putting her out when I tried to sit inside with my wife when we would both be drinking, but she wasn’t that hungry and just wanted an appetizer or dessert. and I was still getting an entree. seriously?

      • I hate that Saint Ex sucks.

      • Don’t know what license St. Ex has – but some places are prohibited from selling just alcohol -no food – on a patio. Maybe ask before you slam them. Though I agree, sadly, St. Ex’s service is pretty bad.

  • it’s always crappy to have a visiting (presumptively) family member come to town and have this happen.

  • houseintherear

    I was followed the other day on Florida Ave near the intersection of Rhode Island Ave. I had just finished talking with a friend at lunch about how often I am sexually harassed on the streets around the U St area, so I was in “a mood”. I about-faced and walked fast toward the guys following me, then got about 1 ft from them and stared them down. They tried to walk around me and I kept facing them and walk backwards for a bit and kept staring at them, and then they stopped walking so I turned back and kept going where I was going. They went down the next street away from me.

    It felt GREAT. Maybe I looked like a crazy person, but I couldn’t care less. Enough of this s**t.

  • Sorry to hear of the troubles in NW but also glad that we’re finally having less (at least reported) violent and street crimes down near H St. I hope the trend continues, but I have a feeling we’ll soon catch up.

    • I can assure you we have those problems currently – they just aren’t broadcast all over this blog, for better or worse.

  • shit that sucks re: the mugging at 11th and monroe. i haven’t noticed any young guys casing, but i’m honestly not out and about except to and from work and to giant once in a while. i’ve always thought of the 3500 block of 11th as being quiet and safe with kids throwing around the football and families sitting on stoops. hopefully someone saw something. this all said, i’ll take rational adult robbers over crazy-ass kids.

  • I hate it when muggers use snakes to rob people!

  • So does anyone carry mace or a Taser gun or something? I assume Tasers are illegal so not a real option, but at least in some states you can carry mace legally if you register it with the police. Anyone know DC laws? Probably not worth using anything like that in a pure mugging, but might be helpful if there’s a physical threat?

    • I used to carry pepper spray but lost it in the move. I now carry a rape whistle. I’m not sure how useful it is in a mugging – I would rather just give up my money than risk pissing off a guy with a gun – but for cases of assault and other more serious offenses it’s handy for waking up the neighborhood and getting the attention of any cops in the area. It’s on my keychain, and when I’m walking alone at night (which I try not to do) I have my keychain out and hold both the whistle and a key in case I need to gouge some eyes out.

  • Mace…it’s legal but you have to register it with your police department and you’ll have to go to Maryland to get it.

  • its ashame that our tax dollars only pay for these peoples food and roof over their head, but not for air conditioning too. Maybe that would keep them inside and let the rest of us enjoy the wamer weather and beautiful spring time DC.

  • Living in this city just rips apart so many of my liberal beliefs. I have always been against guns but I am really rethinking my position. What are some people’s suggestions for protecting yourself. I know it is best to give it to them what they want but on occasion I tend to be a “moron” and “keep it real” LOL.

    • so funny that being anti-gun is a “liberal belief”. maybe the terms “liberal” and “conservative” are just inaccurate.

      • More “legal” guns and less “illegal” guns will have a drastic reduction in crime. Us liberals are generally misguided with this concept.

    • I’m planning to take Krav Maga. I’m totally serious.

      • Hmmm I think I may be joining you. Looks like it is an essential skill for living in DC.

      • I would recommend it. It gets you in great shape and gives you a lot of confidence. It teaches you to always be aware of your sorroundings. They teach defenses against weapons, but always advise you not to fight against someone with a gun unless you’re sure they’re going to shoot. no wallet, watch or electronic device is worth dying for (except maybe the Human CENTiPAD.)

        • I wrote above about being attacked–a few days before Christmas, no less. I wish I’d taken Krav before being attacked by those cowards. The type of strikes they teach (e.g., elbows, palm strikes to bridge of nose, knees) are precisely what allowed me to clear enough space to escape to freedom and, as I discovered, are the most intuitive in such a chaotic–not to mention terrifying–situation.

          The added benefit is that everything Krav teaches is focused on inflicting the maximum amount of damage for the minimum amount of effort. Think of it as you augmenting the punitive measures that should be doled out by our impotent juvenile justice system . . . .

          • Thanks for the info! Now I’m even more interested. I’m really into “maximum amount of damage for the minimum amount of effort.” And feeling like a badass.

            Okay, Jay–see you in class. :p

          • Bird, is that you?

        • +1 for any SP references.

      • I know people that do Krav, and it’s really valuable. Their lesson plans center around real-life scenarios, such as muggings, or if someone has you in a choke hold. That kind of thing.

    • Jay I used to be a total liberal too man. I feel you. Now that I make a lot more money from the first couple years out of college. I hate welfare and can’t stand that my money going to the power. I bought a condo and I feel that they city needs to stop slowing down the gentrafication of the city and kick the poor out to PG county so they can rob and steal out there. I want to be able to have a carry permit. I have turned into a conserative yuppie scum. Hence the name.

    • A liberal is a conservative who has never been mugged.

    • +1

    • I’ve been here for ten years, I’m exhausted, and I’ve concluded that my previous philosophy of liberal social relativism presumed a vastly higher average intellect and work ethic than exists in the human population.

      Urban society requires rules and constant, consistent enforcement. Multi-generational welfare and housing support, even if it were zero-cost to the tax-payer, is morally wrong because it instills dependence mindsets, destroys work ethic, and permits 16-year-old single motherhood to be a viable life choice. This city is very, very rotten at its core, and it will take a very long time to heal even if we start making better policy choices — which our city government, I assure you, will not.

  • I would be down for starting a neihborhood watch if it called for some pre-gaming some microbrews, rape whistles and brass nuckles then we get a couple bands of small groups together in bright neon shirts stalking the feral youth in this city.

    • This would definitely work!

    • Let’s start a private nonprofit association. Raise funds, hire a PI, start collecting data on the thugs, set up a secret network of digital cameras to catch them in the act, fund block patrols, lobby elected officials for much more strict laws on violent youth offenders, violent offender registry. So little to do, so much time.

      Establish all male prep schools to cater to the specific needs of young black men. I do believe in them too, as hard as it is sometimes in this town.

  • F*CKing KIDS! Seriously!!! I am getting so mad and I am just at a loss as to what to do about it. How can I help make the streets safer without looking like a cursed gentrifier just trying to make *my* neighborhood what *I* want it to be?

  • What do people think about pepper spray? I’m sure this has been a topic here before. I guess it would by foolish to use it with a gun present anyway.

    I walked home by myself, but very aware, from Meridian Pint to 13th and Monroe about an hour before this last night, and it just worries me.

  • When I first moved to DC, almost four years ago, I lived at Holmead and Meridian. Someone tried mugging me right outside my row house. I was on the phone at the time, actually telling my boyfriend that I was walking to catch cab (so I wouldn’t get mugged walking to AdMo, ironically) I held onto my bag and sort of crouched into a turtle-like position, screaming my head off. The guy never said anything and ran away. It was a warm night and tons of people were out on their porches. No one got up. No one said anything to me or tried to help me.

    My room mate at the time ordered mace for the girls in my house. I still have it, but haven’t carried it in quite some time. Think it might be time to dig it out again. Perhaps a false sense of security…

    Biggest thing I learned was to not walk and talk on my cell phone. It’s been cautioned before, but a warning: while you may think it makes you feel safer, being connected to someone on the other line, other people see you as a distracted target. Keep your head up and be smart.

  • I think a good old fashioned neighborhood watch is a good idea. I know we are all busy, but I don’t want crime to taint the neighborhood. There is too much good here.

    • yes, please. right before it happened, there was another man going into his house on 11th. the muggers waited until that man went into his house to accost us. it’s always good to have more eyes.

  • here’s the thing, crime reached it’s lowest point in dc in 2005. it’s basically been getting worse since.

    be careful out there.

  • yuppiehell your changing perception is no uncommon. I’m in the same boat, I come from a small town near Detroit. Then went to a very large University to get away from said small town. That’s where my humanities classes propagated vast projections of how inner city populations are devoid of any opportunity etc etc. After living in this city for almost a decade there is a definite break with realty. I see a city that pours more resources into a school system then anywhere else in the country and gets dreadful results. Further any high school student in this city can attend any public college in the US for practically instate tuition fees with the $50k grants awarded. That is beyond any additional financial aid etc. The city spends a large amount on social programs and a even greater amount on a dysfunctional city government. There is definitely a attitude of entitlement in this city and few seem to want to do the hard work required to contribute to society. They are more interested in getting a hand-out and getting theirs.

    Before anyone starts saying I had opportunity that these people don’t… I worked very hard in school to get accepted to a top tier university, I paid for college almost exclusively on my own and went into debt greatly to achieve my goals. The problem here is a cultural one where it is not desirable to educate yourself or do the hard work.

    So now I find myself thinking it is better to have strict penalties for violent crime, put limits on social programs and demand more from our government and schools. I also worked in the federal government for 4 years and the waste there is beyond comprehension — but that is a different story.

    The above is just a opinion of a fed up taxpayer or “yuppie”

  • pennyworth

    This is five-fold:

    1. They hate you because you have money, education and decent jobs.

    2. They hate you because you’re (most of you)infringing on what they perceive to be their city.

    3. They hate that you all have probably wasted more money than they’ll ever make.

    4. This is the only way that they can assert any type of power over you.

    5. They just hate you … and its easy to hurt people you hate.

    Put as many cops on the street as you want. Buy as much mace as you want. This will not stop until you accept and address the fact that this is class warfare.

    • edited for conciseness:

      1. They hate you

      This will not stop.

      • pennyworth

        thanks, bro.

      • I hate them.

        I have more economic and social power.

        The census informs me that very soon I will also have more political power.

        Grandma, provider of the basement, the last homeowner in the family, is very old and has drawn a large reverse-mortgage against the house.

        This will stop.

    • they hate us for our freedom

    • But their ancestors were slaves!!!! They have a right to act the way they do!!!

      • houseintherear

        yuck. stop it.

      • pennyworth

        so far as i can tell, the people who steal your macbook pros are not the same people who will argue about the gov’t sponsored slavery, repression and Pavlovian policies of the last … let’s say 150 years.

      • There is a classism and there is racism. That was racist

        • pennyworth

          I agree. From some angles it may seem like these crimes are targeted at White people, but I know better. I went to an HBCU in Baltimore City and we (students) were constantly targeted, harassed and robbed by locals. They hated us so much!!

          • @Pennyworth; are you talking about Morgan State University? However, Morgan is located in a use to be safe Northeast Baltimore neighborhood at Cold Spring Lane and Hillen Road. Things have changed with the times.

      • Ummm. No.

        But you are entitled to hide behind the anonymity of the web, enabling you like the modern day white hood of the KKK.


        • An ugly statement. Uncomfortable. Sad. NOT liberal.

          But Pennyworth is accurate nonetheless, and your moaning to the contrary doesn’t change it.

      • asshole.

        • that was @ Anon 1:53. too cowardly to even put an identifying name on his statement. enjoy the tiny world you’ve made for yourself due to you being a racist prick.

    • @Pennyworth; you make it sound like, race riots are on the horizon? Some people are just mean and don’t have regards for life.

  • If you are really fed up and want to connect with others in the NW neighborhoods who are too, join this group on facebook.!/home.php?sk=group_216672065011198&ap=1

  • They hate us for our french fries.

  • It’s good to have comment threads like this every now and then to vent, be angry, propose solutions, etc.

    But let’s maintain some perspective. Someone above mentioned that crime levels have been increasing since 2005 in DC. There are many ways you could look at that statement, but generally speaking that’s not true. Violent crime has continued to decrease throughout the city.

    Looking at the intersection of 11th and Monroe, where the first incident described above occured, I found 177 incidents of reported violent crimes (homicides, robberies and assaults) within 1500 feet of the intersection from April 2006 through April 2007. From April 2010 to April 2011 however, there were 137 reported incidents of violent crime–a nearly 30% reduction.

    16th and Belmont has seen a 50% reduction in reported violent crime during that same period.

    Awareness and vigilance are good things and should be encouraged. And the people committing these deplorable acts absolutely deserve to be in jail. But let’s not lose our heads here–the city isn’t devolving into anarchy, and crime isn’t skyrocketing upward.

    • A -reported- violent crime every 2.7 days is not that awesome.

      • I didn’t say that it was. (Although it’s worth noting that Connecticut and Q Street in the middle of Dupont sees a reported violent crime every four days, which many would consider rather high for an area perceived as “very safe”.)

        Rather, I was merely responding to the individuals throughout this thread who have the mistaken belief that the crime rate is increasing. Whereas what’s likely happening is that we’re simply paying more attention to it now than we used to, and we care more than we used to.

        • I’m e-mailer number 2 – I definitely agree with you, Ben. I’ve lived in my home for over 3 years and hadn’t felt unsafe on Belmont St once. I’m not thinking about moving, and I’m not suggesting things are getting materially worse. Just trying to remind others that we live in an urban environment where shit happens. Oh, and the weather is getting nicer, so more shit will probably start happening.

          I’m really lucky my situation wasn’t much worse.

        • It may be increasing city-wide from 2005, but anybody who was in Columbia Heights 5 years ago KNOWS crime has dropped since then.

          Good find Ben.

    • Hear, hear. I was just taking a look at historical homicide statistics in DC — murders have gone down almost 300% since the early 90s! The freaking out here over isolated mugging reports is a classic example of the availability bias:

      • Look, I agree with both of you that the city has made a ton of progress, but 137 violent crimes within about a six block area is not “isolated reports.” Crime at 11th and Monroe in the 1990s was so apocalyptically horrifying that pretty much no one willing lived there. Down 300 percent from apocalyptic is good progress, but let’s not be relativistic about local crime unless we’re also going to acknowledge that the crime rate IS STILL multiples higher than the national average.

        • Yes, of course we do have a long way to go. This ain’t Ballston! But of course DC is a large and very dense city, we can’t rightly compare it to national average.

          Anybody know how DC compares to similar sized and dense cities? Such as; Miami, San Fran, Boston, Detroit (ugh), and Baltimore(double ugh)?

  • This is scary to read. DC residents should be aware of their surroundings at all times and stop wearing ear plugs while jogging. Unfortunately, many citizens are afraid to get involve and some enforce the no snitching policy.

  • I hear ya – i was mugged 1/2 block from columbia heights metro on hiatt and park. people are jerks.

  • DC Council At-Large Phil Mendelson chairs the Judiciary Committee that oversees MPD. Mendelson is too liberal on crime. Law abiding DC residents should be able to carry guns outside their homes. Mayor Gray has been silent on the violence occurring in our city and he wants to decrease MPD budget. DC residents should put pressure on Councilmember Mendelson and his colleagues to take crime serious in our city.

    Native Washingtonian

    • so someone can take it from you and use it against you? No one wants a whole bunch of randoms carting guns everywhere… recipe for DISASTER

      • I’m all for law abiding citizens carrying guns, shoot (pun intended) all these thugs do…

      • I wonder how often that happens – “criminal will take the gun and use it against you.” Are there any stats from unbiased (not pro or anti-gun) sources?

        I’ve often wondered if that’s just a talking point from the anti-gun movement.

        • Honestly, I don’t think guns do much to help OR hurt in mugging/violent situations. There’s a certain group out there who likes to envision themselves getting all John Wayne on some mugger, but odds are you won’t really have time to react that way. Most people don’t think clearly when a gun is shoved into their face, and the reason muggings are frequently successful for the mugger is because they have the element of surprise.

      • @Veronika, I think if law abiding citizens are trained properly on how to use a gun, their chances of getting robbed by criminals will be low. Other States like Virginia, their law abiding citizens can carry guns to protect themselves. The same should go for DC citizens. MPD will not be able to protect us from the hoodlums on DC streets. The criminals have guns. Why shouldn’t law abiding DC residents be armed to protect themselves?

      • I have a friend whose mother shot a mugger in a parking lot in Dallas. Her gun was pink, encrusted with rhinestones.

        I’m anti-gun, but that’s pretty dope.

  • one MUST be aware of their surroundings… if someone is following you, stop, turn around, look them dead in the eye and say, “whassup”. translation: I see you and know what you look like. Don’t assume that just because the neighborhood has improved slightly that you can walk home at midnight. alone. hells no, this is still DC. recognize this. walk with your keys in your hand with one key in between your fingers like a knife… good to jab an eye out with… walk with authority. It helps.

  • When will the libtards on here realize that the police are just minutes away when seconds count? I carry a glock and I will shoot you if you try to rob me. This practice has prevented me from being a victim many times. The only protection you cab rely on is your own not your government.

  • back in DC i guess… just coming back from 10 days in germany and how wonderful does it feel to be able to walk around a city without having to watch and be on guard the whole time. to be somewhere where you don’t open the newspaper every day to see another story about a murder or some some other litany of crimes.

    • It’s also crazy in Germany how people will basically stone you if you jaywalk, or if a cyclist doesn’t stop at a red light. Germans are very efficient and orderly – it kind of explains how they were able to be so analytical and exacting in their genocide and accounting of it.

      It also explains how they can be one of the only European nations to keeps it social programs in tact and have its financial house in order.

      (By the way, I love Germany and in no way think modern-day Germans are as evil as SOME of their ancestors who enacted so many atrocities in the name of nationalism – Berlin gives New York a run for its money as best city in the world)

  • Srsly,
    I constantly jaywalk (here and when I am at home in Germany) I have never been stoned, neither has anyone said anything. Don’t have a clue where you made that experience. Same goes for the bike example. You must have been in some tiny village.

    About the ww2 comment, I am sorry but I was born in 72 a generation after the war I think I can hardly be held accountable for what people two generations did before me … I am glad you don’t consider my generation just as evil is my grandparents, but honestly how do you then rate the post Hiroshima, post Iraq, post Vietnam, post Guantanamo, post Latin America policy US?

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