MPD Looking To Combat Uptick in Crime by Perpetrators on Bikes in Columbia Heights

Very interesting story from NBC Washington about crimes and bikes in Columbia Heights (via Mike DeBonis).

Is this a good way to combat an increase in cell phone snatchings by perpetrators on bikes?

MPD Commander Jacob Kishter comments on the story in the Shaw listserv:

“Its not a new policy or initiative but a misrepresented news story. Rest assured we will not be harassing bike riders.

We have noticed an increase in robberies where bicycles are being used and I want my officers to pay more attention to our known violent offenders who are committing these cases.

In fact we made a great robbery arrest last night involving one of our known offenders who was riding a bicycle which he did not own.”

Ed. Note: MPD also sends me an email asking folks to be careful using their smart phones at night – please remember to be alert. Also another reminder to not leave your purses on the backs of chairs while dining or leave electronic equipment like laptops unattended. I don’t mean to blame the victim in anyway here but there are preventative steps we can take to make us less of a target.

22 Comment

  • “…our known violent offenders”? If they’re “known”, why aren’t they “locked up”?

    • You must be new here.

      • Local-yokel activists and Phil Mendelsohn will claim profiling, for this will mean any black male on a bike will be scrutinized. (of course, this depends on whether the MPD will indeed do its job…and if their laziness is overcome, will the courts?) Of course, I know legions of good kids here, in Shaw and Petworth who merely use bikes as transportation and play–but there is indeed a mobile forces of thugs who need to be stopped. Again it’s a sad reality that the good kids are going to have comport their behavior and habits in a certain way, when in a perfect world, they shouldn’t have to.

    • It could mean convicted violent offenders who are out on the streets because they served their time. It could mean people currently on trial for violent crimes who are out on bail. It could also mean people the police “know” committed a violent crime (or multiple violent crimes) but who are still walking the streets freely. Why? Maybe they beat the rap. Maybe no case was brought because no one would testify against them. I read an article awhile back, which I think someone posted a link to here, in which a MPD Detective said that in many cases the police “know” who committed a crime. They can find people willing to talk to them off the record and anonymously who will identify the perpetrator(s). But often those people have no interest in going to court to be a witness in a criminal case.

  • Can I register my bike if I want to? Does anyone know how that works?

  • They could start by booting out the double parked cars blocking the bike lanes and forcing all cyclists (above 12yo) to ride on the road and not the sidewalk. That would make it a bit harder to do a sidewalk snatch and grab, plus make the sidewalks safer for pedestrians. Also, put out “bait bikes,” wait for the bike thieves to grab them, and arrest them.

    • I kind of agree with this. Keeping bikes on the road would mangle traffic in some areas, but also keep thieves from taking items off pedestrians as they whiz by.

  • I wonder if the arrest he references is related to yesterday’s post about the bike thief in Woodley Park.

  • GPS trackers on all bikes! Maybe they can be chipped like animals are at the Humane Society 🙂

    • It would be easier to microchip the known offenders.

    • ??? Chips= passive RFID tags, not GPS. RFID tags would only help police identify the owner of a bike, which they could/should be able to do through bike serial numbers. GPS units would be expensive, require batteries, and need to be waterproofed.

      • Thanks for explaining the terminology.

        Also, it could be paid for by the bike owner. With the rate of stolen bikes in this city, as a bike owner, I’d gladly shell over considerable cash to ensure that my bike could be recovered in case it’s snatched.

        • Um, if you’re willing to pay the big bucks I guess LoJack could help you out.

          • Well maybe as an added percaution, should I do what a previous post described (just leave it somewhere for 30 seconds, and it’s gone).

            But you’re right. Good bike lock.

  • I do not understand why a person riding a bike at 3:00am in the morning, going up and down the alleys is not stopped by police and questioned. Don’t tell me that you are doing exercise in the alley. Columbia Heights has a lot of these individuals on patrol every night and the police do not stop them.

  • Last night at Big Bear, on the patio, we saw an I-phone grabbed off a table and the perpetrators–two teenage boys–ran off down the alley.

    Don’t leave your phones on the table while you’re out drinking even in a well-lit place with lots of people around. It happens so fast and it looks like they got away with it.

  • I love when people reserve their spot at the bar with their cellphone. I’m not a criminal but kinda want to snatch it on general principles

  • All I know, is that police presence in CH was up significantly after my house was broken into around 11:30 Thursday morning. I was called at work by a police lieutenant informing me of a foiled robbery. “Foiled” implying only several, and not all, of my high value items were stolen. Entry was by means of a pushed in air conditioner. The cops left quite a mess after forensics was done. I expect nothing to returned nor any arrests made through their ramped up patrols and cyclist hassling.

  • Part of the problem is the number of people riding their bikes on the sidewalk even though the city spent a huge sum of money striping bike lanes along 14th and other streets. PEDS ON THE SIDEWALK… BIKES ON THE STREET. I’m a runner, biker and driver so I am sensitive to each group, but obey the law people.

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