Dear PoPville – “Mugging / possible attempted car jacking Alley between 1600 block of Swan and S Street NW”

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Dear PoPville,

Witnessed a mugging and possible attempted car jacking this morning about 8:15 am in the alley between Swan and S street, West of 16th street. Was taking out my garbage alley between T and Swan and heard screams and “call the police”. Looked down the alley and saw a scuffle and fight and then the assailant ran off down Swan toward New Hampshire…police were called and victim was taken to hospital to with a laceration on his arm…… assailant reportedly pulled a gun (later identified as a BB gun) and hit the victim with a brick..victim’s partner said that the assailant had asked the victim to get into the victims car after giving up his wallet, victim apparently fought of assailant at that point….

60 Comment

  • alissaaa

    This is scary. In broad daylight at a time of day when there are a lot of people out and about going to work.

    We really need uniformed police officers out and about on the streets. Might not have prevented this particular event, but the brazenness of criminals operating in this area is really getting out of hand.

    • Yeah – the brazenness seems out of control. I just had my house robbed this week with people home, lights on, cars there –while it was still light outside. And I recently saw a car window smashed at 8am at 13th and U. People everywhere. They just dont care…

      I am so sorry for this guy. How scary!

      • how scary for you, too. hope no one was hurt and everything is ok.

        • thanks. just lost stuff and peace of mind. I really dont know how these people deal after being physically attacked. I am hoping us seeing so much of this here on POP and in the news has more to do with extra-reporting than an actualy up-tick. just when the COHi farmer’s market is rockin, and new resturants on 11th are coming. I have been in town for a long time, and would really like to be able to say (and believe) that things keep getting a little bit better. seems like a hard spring though…

    • I took a self defense class a few years ago, taught by some local police. They emphasized one of the best things you can do in this kind of situation is scream “help, call the police, I’m being attacked” etc.

      You’d think most people would call 911 if they heard screaming, but that’s not always true. Yelling “call the police,” like the victim did in this case, makes it very clear that an attack is happening and that anyone within earshot should call 911.

  • holy crap. it’s amazing how these f-sticks are getting more and more brazen. this is ridiculous. beatings, muggings, car jackings in BROAD daylight. so frustrating and scary and it all pisses me off to no end. and clearly no one in dc government has a solution – or is willing to step up and try to find a solution.

  • Let the letter writing campaign begin! Let’s take back our alleys!

  • The events reported on here in the last two weeks have prompted me to place my very first order for pepper spray. Not that I think it will actually be much of a help, but it makes me feel better.

    • Get a screamer or audible alarm you can carry in your pocket…pepper spray is really risky. It can enrage rather than incapacitate…and can be turned against you. Now a 100-120 db alarm that calls attention to you and the situation? That’ll diffuse most confrontations.

    • I bought one of those high-pitched whistles and attached it to my keys. It’s *really* loud. I also carry a switch blade, which isn’t a great idea but I’ve done it for years.

  • Makes you wonder if crime is actually worse in NE or SE ? Pretty scary lately in parts of the DC I never used to think twice about walking around in alone.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      Admittedly, I don’t cover crime as much in NE or SE but you can follow @DCPoliceDept and/or DCAlerts on twitter and you’ll see many crime reports.

      • I should peek into that. I realize the crimes in SE/NE don’t receive as much media attention as NW, but lately I can’t imagine much worse than it has been in the Logan Circle/U Street area — unless random people were just being murdered repeatedly. A snatch and grab of someone flashing a cell phone is a completely different situation than random people being assaulted in broad daylight. I’ve lived in the area for 8 years and I’ve never felt so scared. WTF?

  • I keep hearing all of this stuff on PoP…
    Kids get off easier than in other cities
    DYRS has higher than normal recidivism
    Brazen day time violent crimes have increased
    Cops should do ___ instead of ___

    etc etc etc

    Except, there doesnt ever seem to be any evidence or data given to support these assertions.

    • just fyi i did a quick crime map search and that immediate area went from 0 robberies last year to 5 robberies this year (two with guns)

      • You did? I did the same search for the intersection of 16th St NW and S St NW using a 1,500 foot buffer and got completely different results.

        According to there were 18 total violent crimes YTD for 2011 compared to 19 YTD for 2012. Of those, 2 were robberies with a gun in 2011 compared to 4 in 2012. Robberies excluding guns went from 11 in 2011 to 9 in 2012.

        What parameters did you use?

    • -1

      Evidence? How about people getting robbed, mugged and beaten on a daily basis?

      Also, try to get the city to provide stats on where the criminals are coming from or where they reside to see if there are patterns. The fact that it’s impossible to get those stats should be evidence enough that the city is protecting them. I suspect many of these criminals come from the projects, and no one wants anyone to admit that or show evidence of it.

      The burden of proof should be on those who claim that our crime rates are at acceptable levels, the city is doing all that can be done (not all that the city “can” do), etc.

      • Yeah, I’ve noticed, its usually you thats doing a lot of the ranting and raving.

        Crime doesnt plunge over night, but if you look at the last 20 years, violent crime is WAY down. Thats called progress.

        just because you moved to dc and suddenly find out there’s more crime than you anticipated does not make a crisis.

        As for “people getting mugged and beaten every day” thats down from 3 times a day.

        Basically, ranting and raving on a blog doesnt do anything. Especially when all you have are a bunch of memes to bring to the table.

        PoP posts these as a public awareness not to get a bunch of hyper scaredy cats all amped up about the crime rate.

        Yes, there is a YoY increase in some crimes in some areas. So you have two data points.

        I’ll start getting really worried when its a sustained and significant increase. Until then, I hold the belief that the police are doing a great job and that, overall, things are getting better.

        I think some people are just more aware of crime, or have moved to areas that have higher crime, and are surprised. Just because you’re more aware of it more often doesnt make it more often.

        • I’m pretty confident that I’m not alone in being concerned with the crime rate and how the teenagers committing the crimes are being dealt with. In fact, I think you’re in the minority being an apologist for criminals and the current crime levels. Since you’ve posted anonymously, I have no idea whether you tend to go off on pro-crime rant and raves, but I suspect you do.

          • Have you lost your mind? I am no more or less anonymous than you are.

            Just because I don’t agree with you and point out you have few facts and a lot of alarmist hyperbole doesn’t make me “pro-crime” or an apologist for criminals.

            You need to be more thoughtful because you sound like a raving, unhinged, lunatic.

          • Physician, heal thyself.

          • You’re definitely not alone. I’m definitely worried about all this.

          • Anon X, you are just spouting off ad hominem attacks at Bloomingdude, which don’t help your case at all. Are the police messed up? Yes and no. They’ve been helpful when I’ve needed them, but someone on this blog also posted that she or he had to keep on contacting them for two weeks after the person was assaulted since they were not responding to the victim’s questions about the investigation. The bigger problem in this city are the policies, which ultimately tie down the police from really knocking down crime in this city. Bloomingdude is right to be frustrated.

          • Anon X – I don’t agree with everything Bloomingdude says, but your statement that he sounds like a raving, unhinged lunatic doesn’t lend your argument a tone of thoughtful consideration.

          • I’m not spouting off ad hominem attacks. An ad hominem attack would be “you have lost your mind” or “you are a raving lunatic”. I was just telling him what he sounds like. In fact, he was the one who said that I was “pro-crime” and an “apologist”.

            I happen to believe the crime rate is too high and that beyond the rate, the actual nature of the crime is concerning.

            However, I refuse to be broken and become some hyper alarmist, perpetual pessimist. The truth is, things in DC are relatively good and getting better. Yes, there could be improvements and some of it is systemic. I think the people who blame it all on policy, all on affordable housing, or all on something else are helplessly misinformed.

            The truth is all of it is right sometimes, none of it is right all the time. I feel like a lot of people moved into DC with unrealistic expectations of crime. Having lived in the DC area my whole life, I only moved in once it was a lot safer than it once was.

            No matter when you moved here, the crime rate was probably higher than where you came from. You should adjust your expectations accordingly and not start cyber flip outs.

            I personally believe that the crime will take care of itself. Socioeconomic and economic changes in DC will make sure of it. And people who care and make a concerted effort to change policies and reduce crime will make sure of it. People who spout off hyperbole on blogs won’t have a thing to do with it.

            Its too bad that its become so normal on PoP that if you don’t join the alarmist frenzy in the comments that you’re somehow part of the problem. If people don’t march lockstep with the prevailing views on affordable housing (which I don’t even like) or the anti-DYRS yelling (which is probably due some criticism), or the shrill alarmism that the world is going to end because of increased crime then you’re “pro-crime” is just plain dumb.

            Sorry I don’t succumb to irrational fear and alarmism. If you’re more of an optimist, life is a lot easier.

    • Anon X & I seldom agree, but I think he’s largely right here. The rants concerning crime have become very tired and repetitious. Instead of the usual unsupported raving about public housing, some analysis why not seek out some facts? Aside from robberies, violent crimes are down. That’s good, but not good enough. And as for the idea that the criminals are more brazen – No, they’re not. These crimes are now being committed against white people where they live and reported by numerous blogs and websites. Talk to a resident of Wards 5, 7, 8, etc. and they’ll set you straight on the “brazen” crime they live with every day and have lived with for decades. If every PoPer spends more time raising hell about crime with gheir elected officials instead of commenting on a blog, things might get better.

      • I agree with you more than you probably want me to.

      • I’m not asking this in an asshole way, but I am curious as to whether or not you have engaged your councilmember, etc. and if so, what have you done?

        • Fair question and I’ll give you an honest answer. I haven’t had to push the issue. Crime in my neighborhood is, thankfully, low. But I care about crime rates in other parts if the city because I don’t want to live in a city where I can’t go to certain parts without being in fear. Thus, I’m just suggesting that if people want crime rates to drop, they need to pressure the Wilson building more. That’s part of the reason that Ward 3 remains generally safe. Although it is starting from a good socio-economic position (and that means a lot), criminals can travel and when they start causing trouble in Ward 3, Mary Cheh knows it will cost her her seat if safety is not restored. Graham, Bowser, Wells, et. al. should feel the same heat.

          • thanks – funny that the crime situation can totally impact the ability to hold onto a council seat in some wards, but in others, it has absolutely no impact. people in certain wards seem to be represented by councilmembers who don’t care (at least that’s what it seems like) about crime as much as they should, yet they continue to hold their seat for forever! crazy. i don’t know how you start to get their attention. it seems like there are enough people on PoP alone that can pressure these guys, but maybe those councilmembers feel they have bigger/more reliable (in terms of voting) constituencies. don’t know. but you’d think that some of these clowns would at least try to show some effort that they’re trying to crack down on crime…whether it’s pushing a bill that improves sentencing or finding a way to keep kids out of trouble after school.

          • Anon, you’re absolutely right. The DC council right now is largely a joke, from Kwame on down. I’d keep Cheh, Catania, Wells, Evans (despite his deep ties with developers), McDuffie (I’m interested to see what he does) and probably Bowser (though I have to confess some ignorance about her record) and unload the rest. Good turnover and more demanding voters would go a long way to improving the city.

          • Oh please, Evans is as corrupt and inept as the others.

            I like Cheh, McDuffie, Bowser, Catania and *maybe* Michael Brown, though I dont know enough about him.

            Also, Vince Gray hasnt been the train wreck everyone thought he would be. In fact, I’m not sure he’s more than 5% different than Fenty.

          • saf

            “*maybe* Michael Brown, though I dont know enough about him.”

            All you need to know is that he thinks his daddy’s name entitles him to power. He’s a do-nothing poser.

      • Excellent post. You and Anon X are on point.

  • This city will change permanently and for the better when we get a candidate who runs on a “tough-on-crime” platform. I think we’re getting to the point demographically that such a candidate could win. However, before that happens, the pro-safety crowd has to get organized and demand change, and a leader has to pick up that mantle. The old guard in power in DC, who are used to coddling the criminals and their families who support them, most likely have to go.

    • “pro-safety” and “tough on crime” , means what exactly.

      • Important question. I don’t think those terms have to include social profiling or unfair application of laws. But we need an extensive program to lower crime. Improving education, increasing programs to help poor families (free daycare, job-traing, etc.), while decreasing reliance on welfare, drug testing for people on any public assistance, decriminalization of marijuana, and strict sentences for any violent crimes (juvenile or adult) are things that I think should be considered. If the well-to-do of DC can offer a genuine hand to those less fortunate, that would be a good start. But if somebody refuses that hand and turns to violence, then the consequences must be more severe.

        • Job training has mixed results.

          Education reform would go a long way toward decreasing crime over the long-term.

          Reforming the way public housing and social services are delivered and located would go a long way, but that would require NIMBYism to die – which is a bit unrealistic.

          Decreasing penalties for first time non violent offenders, while increasing penalties dramatically for repeat violent offenders would help.

          I don’t think DC lacks the political will from the outside to do many things – I think the system is broken on the inside. Poor people, rich people, blacks, and whites.. gentrifiers and old guard, want to be safe… they’ll support measures to increase the quality of life – but one place I am pessimistic is that there is the know-how to implement good policy. I don’t think a single good mayor or anything like that will really change much… though, we haven’t really had a good mayor (Fenty and Williams were pretty badly flawed), so I don’t know if its fair to make that conclusion…

          However, my optimism that there is an ongoing sea change in DC outweighs my pessimism about the district government.

          • Yeah, some of the solutions I suggested might not work, and some might be useful in tandem with other programs. You’re onto something about the poor policy planning and implementation. After all, this is a city that has repeatedly failed to do the paperwork to get Ryan White grants to deal with the AIDS epidemic here. The city government is broken and I fear it will be awhile before it gets fixed. As for Fenty & Williams, I agree that Fenty was deeply flawed, but I respect Williams & the job he did, both as mayor and on the Control Board.

          • Dont get me wrong, I would willingly vote for Williams again (though it was tough to vote for fenty as much as I disliked gray). I just dont think he was the rockstar thats needed to really make big changes in the culture of the DC government.

            To Fenty’s credit, he did quite a lot on the front end service delivery and did make progress. Police show up, trash is collected, graffiti is removed, and large obstructive junk is removed from alleyways… thats a HUGE improvement, but its sad that its so remarkable.

    • We may need a good dose of Rudy soon….

  • What I understand is that a lot of this robbers are coming out of jail and they come back to their old neighborhood and I find new people with more money to rob.

  • Glad the victim didn’t get into the car. I’d rather be shot on the sidewalk than stuffed in a trunk, possibly tortured, then shot.

  • i wonder why he’d want the guy to get in the car. i wonder if it was the same guy who tried to steal the car yesterday that had stick shift and he couldn’t drive it, and needed the victim to drive the car for him.

    ugh this is terrible though. 8:15 am? seriously?

  • i had a very similar incident happen to me in 2007, in the alley that runs between 15th and 16th parallel to s and swann. 4 pm in the afternoon, i am taking out my trash, talking on my cellphone. i pass a couple kids but dont think anything of it. one of them comes up to me, i am still on the phone, and next thing i know i have been hit from the side with some large object (not sure if it was a bat or a brick). fortunately was not unconscious and started yelling for help. they fled. neighbors responded very quickly and ems took me to howard for what they thought was a broken jaw, but turned out to be bruises and swelling.

    i now live in ledroit park, where i feel safer!

  • I’m amazed at how naive so many PoP readers are. Violent crime happens with high frequency in major American cities and always has. In fact, this is just about the safest time in history to live in the District.

    Stats over the past 20 years suggest that violent crime has fallen off of a cliff in DC. Down 75%?? That’s AMAZING. It’ll be down again this year as we are on pace to have less than 100 homicides for the first time in over 50 years!

    The city is less than one generation away from being the “Murder Capital” where drug dealers ruled the streets with impunity. I haven’t seen anyone getting in turf battles on 14th St., or selling crack in Logan Circle recently, so I’d say the quality of life in the city is better then it has ever been. I’ll take a few random muggings over hookers on the corner and crackheads passed out on my front stoop.

    Put things in perspective people

  • I am sadden to read about this horrible incident. However, these are the times we live in and crime has been around since the beginning of time. Each Police District have a CAC (Citizen Advisory Council) meeting monthy with the District Commander present along with PSA meetings. Residents should start attending your local Police Service Area meeting with your Lt. and the CAC meetings at the 3rd or 4th District. I am a member of 4D’s CAC and I have been for over 15 years. Everytime there’s a robbery in the 4th District or my neighborhood, I send a copy to D.C. At-Large Councilmember Phil Mendelson, Chairperson on the Judiciary Committee. I also keep in touch with the 4th District’s Commander, PSA Captain and Lt. I am a native Washingtonian and I am active in my neighborhood on public safety issues. I know who’s who with MPD and within the Wilson Building. Residents have to take the time to get involved and know who’s who within MPD and City Government by attending meetings and sharing your concerns on crime with Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier, Assistant Police Chief Diane Groomes, Commanders Kimberly Missouri and Jacob Kishter. People find time to go to bars, clubs, party, and travel. They should find the time to attend a public safety meeting.

  • Crime may be way down as long time residents will point out. Those residents that moved here more recently likely did not grow up with this crime or live with it for a sustained period of time. I grew up in MD and did not witness crime like this. I think there are a lot of people (like me) that are not going to tolerate this. It is not good enough for crime to just be better than it was. An entire generation of DC citizens was poorly served by the dopes they continued to elect.

  • Lets gangstalk innocent people without rage

  • Hi — does anyone know if the assailant was caught? Does anyone know how to contact the victims? I am one of the new public safety liaisons for the Dupont Circle ANC ( and we want to help make our residents’ relations with the police more effective (and also improve safety broadly in our neighborhood). We are holding a Dupont-area public safety community meeting June 20, 6:30pm at the JCC — more to come. But any leads on this would be greatly appreciated. Kishan Putta; [email protected]

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