Dear PoPville – Horrifying – young woman sexually assaulted at gunpoint at 4th and Q St, NW Tuesday night

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From MPD:

On Tuesday, January 24, 2012, at approximately 11:30 pm, the victim responded to the Third District Police station to report a sexual assault and robbery which occurred in the 400 block of Q Street, NW. The victim reported walking in the 400 block of Q Street, NW, at approximately 11:00 pm, when she was approached from behind by a male subject. The subject forced her in a nearby alley. While in the alley, the subject who was armed with a handgun sexually assaulted and robbed the victim. After the crime, the subject fled the area on foot.

The suspect is described as a black male, medium build, 24-25 years old, wearing a black leather jacket, checkered scarf, black hat and dark pants.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the police at (202) 727-9099 or 1-888-919-CRIME (1-888-919-2746). Additionally, anonymous information may be submitted to the department’s TEXT TIP LINE by text messaging 50411.

A reader writes:

Dear PoPville,

Please make sure to spread the word about this horrifying incident that happened in Shaw earlier this week. The police were very responsive and have increased patrols in the area, but it’s so hard to predict random attacks on what are otherwise quiet streets. There are some really sick people out there, and it’s all too easy for an innocent person to fall victim. My heart goes out to this young woman, and I hope we all take extra precautions until this creep gets the punishment he deserves.

36 Comment

  • my thoughts are with the victim. I hope she gets justice and support in her recovery.

    let’s do something about our city, people. something that doesn’t include plummeting into the same ol’ debate.

  • I agree with the first poster, well said.

    This is truly sickening. I hope the young lady also gets the help and support she deserves.

    Being newly married, I often worry about my wife because there are some truly sick people around, people just don’t care as they have often said things while driving by, any one of these clowns could easily jump out of the car and try whatever if I am not around. Sad world.

  • I wish we could put up more CCTV’s.

    • gotryit

      You can – on your house. I did on mine, and have provided helpful video to the police.

    • And this is why we did not buy in this over-priced over-hyped neighborhood. Sorry folks but crime has been an ongoing issue in this area for many years. I hope the victim recovers fully although psychologically it’s a terrible exprience to over come. And we can wish all day and night for more cctv’s – the city can (if they wanted to) install more (they’ve spent millions on speed cameras) but very little on cctv installation. Not to mention all the money which our recently elected city officials and appointees have misappropriated and misused and just plain money made to go missing. DC officials can, if they wanted to, but they don’t give a damn about you and me or I. You know, those of us who walk and use their f’d up MetroRail (they don’t use it themselves – heaven forbid). And to the poster who thinks being on a bike will save you. Well when the low-life-scum-coward-criminal has a gun they can either shoot you dead while your peddling (as they did that grad student in Petworth) or slink out of the shadows while you’re obeying the traffic laws stopped at a light at say 15th & U and rob you at gun point (as I had the delight to experience on a quiet autumn night ’06). I’ve also been robbed at gun point in Dupont Circle (July ’09) and my husband was mugged at knife point at Swann & 14th Sts NW (Dec ’05). We are totally OVER this city. And hearing stories like this simply makes us wish we could sell our home sooner and move back to civilization (it’s way more affordable on a lot of levels).

  • That’s so scary. It’s almost inevitable in winter to have to walk from whatever mode of transportation you have to your house after dark. I always get a little bit nervous when I see people milling around corners at night when I walk the one block to my house from the bus stop. Luckily I’m only walking on well-lit, traffic heavy streets, but still. A young woman shouldn’t have to live in fear of this happening. I realize this particular incident was at 11 pm, but still. My thoughts are with the victim.

  • This particular area, between 6th, Florida, N Capitol, and New York Ave, is unusually dangerous in my opinion (I live right near by.) I don’t even walk through there in daylight any more, and I’d strongly advise anyone living in the area to do everything in their power to avoid walking on the street.

    • Well I live smack dab in the center and things have gotten a bit out of hand lately. However to advise people to avoid walking on the street is the silliest thing I have ever heard. More people about = more safety. I intend to walk around more…with large dogs in tow.

      • Anonymous, would you elaborate on what you mean by “a little out of hand?” I live right in this area as well, and I have noticed an uptick in people hanging on corners (particularly at the rear of the Ananya Market on 4th and Q) but not much else. Just curious what you are seeing.

        And by not much else, I am obviously not referring to this terrible incident.

        • There has been an uptick in robberies in the Mount Vernon Square area in the last few weeks. That might be what they are talking about.

          • Remember i was looking for a house in the area in 2009. i decided to take a run from where i was living on 17th and u street down to q street and over to 4th and q. While the house was nice, the neighborhood far from it.

            As we ran back up Q street, the drug house that was having a party out front was busted. Marked/unmarked cop cars racing down the street and cops in bulletproofs vests were charging in to arrest everyone. While i had felt uneasy in the neighborhood, that just solidified my view of the area. While it is getting nicer, it isn’t quite there.

      • If you feel comfortable doing that, more power to you. My wife and I have both come close to being assaulted in that area, though, and our neighbors living on the opposite edge of the same general area have been robbed – so I think we’ll take a pass. Not walking through that neighborhood might sound “silly”, but it seems reasonable to me.

        • How does one “come close to being assaulted”?

        • It’s always weird to hear someone complain about the neighborhood you live in and walk in around day or night. Yes, ideas of safety are largely relative, but I will say that being afraid of the area east of 6th during the day is an extreme view in 2012, IMHO — meaning not typical.

          Also, advising people not to walk in the street at all is runs counter to the effort of making the streets more safer for all. If you can’t do anything besides peer through your windows in your neighborhood, you really need to move to where you feel safe.

  • this is so sad. i hope the victim is ok and i’m so sorry this happened to her.

    i also get nervous walking around at night when it’s dark (esp. in the winter), unless i’m with my pups or my husband, but that’s not always feasible. and we live pretty close to this location, so i’m feeling pretty unsettled right now.

    i’m so tired of horrible things like this dictating transporation modes/travel routes/travel times, etc. we should be able to walk around/bike/whatever freely without fear. and yes, i know i live in a city and blah blah blah, but this is beyond reproach and truly disgusting.

  • This is terrible news to hear. I am a man, but I am afraid to walk on D.C. streets after dark and at 11:00 p.m.

    There are some dangerous, sick, evil, people lurking the streets day and night. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

  • When people talks about installing cameras to catch those criminals, you inmediately hear talks about privacy. I bet that young lady which if a couple of cameras where in that area. Complaint about cameras installation always come from people who know or are relate to those criminals.

  • CCTVs don’t reduce crime – they relocate it.

  • First of all, thoughts, prayers and support go out to the victim. If there’s any good that can come out of horrific situations like this it’s that we’re bringing incidents like this out into the open through blogs and other social media so we can support each other and increase awareness and safety in our city.

    What almost always amazes me is how many people walk alone at night in the city period. I’m a 6’4″, 220 lbs. guy and I don’t walk alone in most parts of the city if I can help it, especially at night. I go with people, at least 1 or 2 others. I know it’s sometimes unavoidable but you’re always safer in numbers and if anything “claims” your territory from thugs it’s going in groups. Numbers matter, especially to cowards.

  • I recall reading somewhere that the cameras installed a few years back by MPD had never been used in identifying and convicting anyone. Wouldn’t surprise me – how much use is a grainy video of a guy in a hood going to really be?

    My take on those cameras has always been that an enterprising security camera salesman figured out how to grease the right palms on the council, not that there is any empirical evidence that they are a good idea.

    • mpd doesn’t know where, if any, cameras are located. when i was robbed at gun point in dupont they asked me several times, if i knew of any cameras in the area. what a joke since i was hoping they could tell me.

  • I disagree with the sentiments on this neighborhood. We frequently walk around there day and night and apply the same logic to every neighborhood in the district. Don’t walk down quiet street alone after dark. I actually see way more frightening people on 14th on all hours of the day then I do in Ledroit/Shaw.

    We understand the risks, but this is the last place that is still affordable to us that is within walking distance to downtown DC.

    • Agree. The fearful men posting here seem bogus, as in fake — sock puppets, as it were. Never before have I seen on PoP a bunch of men come forward en masse about their fear of DC. Notice all these men have common (some might say “believable”) male names as their posting aliases. Whatever happened to the proliferation of “anons” and frequent posters that inhabit this blog almost exclusively? Suddenly, meet a coterie of average Joe types.

      I think it’s one person with an agenda. There’s a pattern here. Look at the Met trail shooting thread. That would be the thread where men come forward about their fears, in this sort of “I am Scaredicus” kinda way.

      • What are you talking about—this is the most civil and discussion on PoP I have ever read. People admitting how they really feel rather than putting up a tough-guy front? More, please!

        • I agree, but it’s too good to be true.

          These people aren’t the norm. What’s a good term? I’d call them closet suburbanites. Maybe some are closet pastoralists. They sound like they don’t like it here. Bottom line: I don’t like it when people who don’t dig my home tell me how to act there.

      • Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean that that person is a fake.

        “Astroturfers” (people falsely pretending to be a grassroots movement) might abound in places where it makes political sense for them to do so, but I don’t see how it would make sense for them to create false names and post on PoP.

        Why assume conspiracy? Why not take the posts at face value and assume that not all men have the same comfort level with the area that you apparently do?

        • They all share the same writing style, the same sentiments and somewhat sanctimonious tone, as well as the same alias-creation strategy. It’s the same person.

          Plus, I’ll mention that never before on PoP has this happened. Occasionally, someone will come on and say they got mugged here, and they don’t walk near that project. Or they’ll say they don’t like that corner or that street. But we’ve never seen a handful of men claim they don’t like walking in DC at night — or, amazingly, during the day!

          Sounds more like the stereotypical Potomac person’s attitude than someone who lives here. I don’t know why posters here use multiple aliases, but apparently they do it with some non-zero frequency. We’ve def seen sock puppets here before.

  • We live in a city with economic inequality statistics worthy of the Third World, and we are shocked — shocked! — that we have Third World levels of crime.

    We can’t repress, imprison, or police our way out of this problem.

    We have to do the hard work of making sure that we have a society that gives all of its kids a decent start, rather than a society that — with depressing reliability — turns a certain class of infants into eventual convicts.

    • Sounds great in theory, but after funding nearly 50 years worth of “ideas” and “programs,” we still haven’t eliminated the permanent underclass in our country that commits a significant majority of violent crimes. The “Great Society” programs that LBJ created in the 60’s have done little to actually create a great society. So I disagree with your view. I think we can “imprison and police our way out of this problem.”

      • It’s not a problem of funding, but of management.

      • dc does not have a federal prison since it’s our great luck to not have statehood. so even when dc criminals are convicted, since they have to be placed in a federal state prison of an actual state (which means outside of dc), our fine thugs are frequently released much earlier than what they were sentenced.

    • I think the excuse that because someone is poor means we should expect them to commit criminal acts is a flawed argument. “Men” often take advantage of women. “Men” with guns frequently will and do take advantage of women (and a few men). How does the scum criminal know the economic background of his victim? FFS she’s WALKING at night in (apologies to those who reside in this area) a not-so-great area alone. The apologists in this city are incredulous. It’s either that poor people have been driven to commit crime, or it’s because of the economy that people are committing crime. I will say that in my experience in Washington over 15 years there has always been a visceral feeling of unfriendliness, apathy and palpable criminal vein – a complete lack of respect for humanity, animals and public property.

  • i am sad for the victim and those that are close to her.

    The good people in this neighborhood (and the city as a whole) deserve better.

    I live in the neighborhood where this happened, and I know many on the life-long residents. When I talk to them about the changes in the neighborhood, they tell me that it has improved. I guess it has and will continue to do so, but it is still troubling when something like this happens.

    i understand some of the recommendations posted here about changing behavior to avoid being a victim, but that doesn’t solve the problem. It’s not like the criminals are going to move away or stop their criminal activity just because the potential victims have gotten smarter.

    How do we get rid of the criminals?

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