Heads Up: Mugging on Sherman Avenue

Dear PoPville,

I was walking back to my house in Columbia Heights on Sherman Avenue last weekend at around 2 AM and was mugged. I was alone, but because I was sober and only going a few blocks I assumed I would be fine (a mistake of becoming too comfortable in the neighborhood after a couple of years). I was caught completely off guard because my attackers were two females who appeared to be in their early 20s (I’m a female as well). They initially approached me to ask for a cigarette. After walking another block I heard someone behind me and saw the two females again. I asked if they needed help with something else; my initial thought was they must have seen something that made them uncomfortable and walked back towards me to ask for help. At this point they knocked me to the ground and pepper sprayed me before taking my purse.

A cab appeared then and I was able to deal with the situation fairly quickly. Props to the cops as well for being very responsive and helpful. I doubt this will be the last time these women attempt to attack and rob someone. The cops told me women mugging other women is not unusual, but this has not happened to any of my friends in the area before, and I truly was not expecting it.

48 Comment

  • ‘A cab appeared then and I was able to deal with the situation fairly quickly. Props to the cops as well for being very responsive and helpful.’

    Does this mean the women were caught?

    I’m sorry to hear about this. I hope the OP is doing okay in light of these events.

  • after 8 years living in this city, i am so done living around this kind of behavior.

  • At what cross st of Sherman ave did this happen? Sorry to hear about it.

  • It sucks this happens. I’m afraid what I’m about to say will come out like blaming the victim, and that’s truly not my intention. Unfortunately, living in a city requires people to have negative instincts (aka initial thoughts). If someone is not prepared to do that — understandable because it means adopting a fairly dim view of humanity — she might want to live elsewhere, or change her behavior to reflect the reality of where she lives, not what she thinks. I’m glad you weren’t seriously hurt.

    • You insight is poor and your comment is fallacious but more importantly not worth reading.

      • Farnsworth and 15st – Anon’s comment could have been delivered more tactfully, but I think the underlying reasoning is sound and shouldn’t be dismissed so easily.

        If a stranger talks to me at 2am, I’m going to be immediately suspicious. If I see someone at 2am double-back on their route in my direction, the alarm bells are sounding.

        How does that help someone in the OP’s situation? Maybe not at all, or maybe she crosses the street, or picks up her pace, or grabs her own pepper spray.

        But regardless, it all starts with a assumption that the person approaching me is possibly looking for trouble.

        You can call me paranoid, but I’m a male who is quite capable of defending myself, and yet I recognize that it makes no difference if I don’t perceive the threat in time. If I’m alone at night, 100% of my attention is dedicated to scanning my surroundings, assessing the likelihood that a given person might try to attack me, what my response might be. If that sounds tiresome, keep in mind that I don’t walk around alone at 2am very much, which is really the first line of defense.

        Again, this is not the victim’s fault – she has a right to not be assaulted, regardless of the circumstances – and it’s possible that even if she knew that they intended to mug her, she could not have done anything to stop it. But all you can do is give yourself the best possible odds.

    • Right dude. Give me a break. Even if she had said f-off or ignored them when they asked for a cig, what would have stopped them from knocking her over and pepper spraying her?? I’m not sure how her interaction with them made this happen. Had she not turned around the 2nd time to engage them, what would have stopped them from just wacking her on the head from the back and spraying her?

      Or do you mean she should have followed her gut and taken a cab? Well I’m guessing by the tone in her letter, she will probably be doing that in the future.

      Way to be patronizing and condescending.

      • First, I’m not a dude. Second, I’ve lived in enough cities to know that 2:00 a.m. is not the time to be walking home alone, drunk or sober, male or female. Third, my first instinct is to be wary of anyone who approaches me on the street, I don’t care who you are, what you look like or what you’re saying to me. And you wouldn’t catch me dead on Sherman Avenue, 2:00 a.m., walking by myself.

        Probably because of these, I have not been mugged in all my years in this city.

        You think I’m being patronizing? How’s this: Grow the fuck up, quit whining about the crime when you moved into a high-crime area, and learn that your suburban instincts are going to get you mugged or worse.

        • OP. I’m not whining about the crime, I sent this to PoP with the hope that I could prevent this from happening to someone else and make people in the neighborhood aware that women are mugging people too.

          • sfk, thanks for sending this in. I think a lot of us have a tendency to be more trustful of other women. Remember the ambush that occurred a few years ago, when a distraught woman was used a bait at someone’s door? It’s good to be reminded that, although it doesn’t happen nearly as often, women commit violent crimes too. I hope you are recovering from this incident as best you can. That must have been horrifying.

          • SFK, thanks for trying to raise awareness about women muggers, and for remaining patient and polite despite the critical comments some people have made.

        • I hope your not referring to the OP as whining which is completely out of line. While I agree that it’s probably better to take a cab at those hours, plenty of people are guilty of making the walk (including myself).

          Glad you have never been mugged but it appears OP was aware of her situation and it is sad that trash like that will stoop to that level so they can buy a new purse with a stolen cc.

          I see OP as hardly whining about crime but rather informing neighbors about potential unconventional thieves in the area so maybe you need to ‘grow the #%$ up’ as you put it.

          • I think her reply was to the previous poster, not the OP.

            People are too sensitive here. Y’all are ready to jump on anyone with an opinion different from yours.

  • Glad you weren’t severely hurt.
    but in the future don’t engage people at that time of night.

    • Just ignore someone who asks you a question? I think that’s more likely to piss them off and get you attacked.

      • I disagree with this 100%. By stopping late at night, you increase your vulnerability. Who knows if the person asking the question is just distracting you while some else sneaks up behind you?

        • Maybe, but in this case the sneak-up-and-attack did not occur at the same time as the engaging, so I’m not sure what your point is. Maybe it’s good advice, like not walking around with headphones on, but it’s not really relevant to what happened.

          • Maybe there’s not some secret code that makes sure nothing bad ever happens?

          • The disagreement is with the statement that not engaging with someone makes it more likely that you’ll be mugged.

          • Uh, that’s was a hypothetical. There was no “sneak” here; the OP was pepper sprayed after talking to the attackers. I’d recommend avoiding prolonged close contact with strange people late at night, hence not stopping to interact with random passersby.

          • Am I reading it wrong? After she passed them they snuck up and attacked her from behind.

          • Yes, you are. She saw them and went up to talk to them again at which time they pepper sprayed her.

          • Maybe the OP can clarify. I re-read it a few times and that’s not the story I’m getting.

            It sounds like after the cigarette question she walked a little further, at which point she heard a noise behind her and turned just as they started attacking her.

  • Disgusting. So sorry that happened to you. DC’s going to be continually be held back until it figures out how to deal with crime.

    • It’s not that deep. Address income inequality from the top-down on the macro scale or see it addressed bottom up on the micro level.

      • Nice, we figured it out. What’s the next step?

      • Gosh, that sounds so easy! Let’s start by taking your hard-earned money and redistributing it to these two malevolent harpies!

        • America has become the First World country with the highest income inequality, and the lowest class mobility.

          Get a passport, tour the other Western countries we think of as our peers, and then tell us you’re not embarrassed by the levels of violent crime and caste-system poverty we Americans consider “normal”.

          The difference between America and those other countries that somehow manage to have less crime and less poverty with the same per-capita GDP: redistributionist social policies.

          • Yes, get a passport and go to the banlieues of Paris and see how more enlightened our peers on the Continent are.

        • Free iPad2 16gb with 20 free bidsOne of the most hottest gatgdes ever can be yours! As a wayof showing gratitude to all who participated and will beparticipating, Yallabid is giving away Apple iPad2 16GB .Receive our warmest welcome to new users, 10 free bids willbe automatically added in your account after you register.Get more free bids when you refer and invited your friends.Visit yallabid now to find out how to win the free iPad 2 andhow to get more free bids in Yallabid

    • Crime happens in EVERY city. It’s a fact of life in the city. Trying walking around certain parts of NYC, San Francisco, LA, Atlanta, or Chicago and let me know how safe you feel. All of these cities continue to grow and prosper, and so will DC.

  • There have been a rash of crimes near or on Sherman Ave.: home break ins, a neighbor of mine was held up at gun point while sitting in his car. The thug who did it even was brazen enough to tell him he recognized him. Then there’s the flasher and the recent shooting near Columbia. This is getting out of control and if Graham and MPD aren’t already addressing it we all need to raise our collective voices and let them know that enough is enough.

    • This isn’t a “rash” of crimes nor are “things getting out of control.” This part of town has been like that for at least five years.

      • Not true. There is a rash of break-ins. The suspects live on the 700 blk of Columbia Rd and have been watching people as they go to work. I’ve lived in the area for many years and this kind of concentrated, targeted crime has gotten out of hand this summer.

        • I just think you’re just noticing it more. I had friends that lived a block way broken into years ago, and have seen burglaries pop up again in crime reports since then. It’s not like this never happened before in the area.

          Also, have you reported the suspects to the police?

          • It would be pretty easy to pull the data but really, is that the point? Knowing there are thugs on the 700 block of Columbia and elsewhere in the neighborhood committing mayhem on a frequent basis, disrupting and disturbing and frightening others, upsetting their sense of personal safety and security, is that not enough? We know where the crimes emanate from. MPD knows who and where they are too.

          • The problem is that DC has a failed juvenile crime prevention strategy. The cops know who the bad kids are, but the city keeps it all secret, letting them get away with running open air drug markets, bike thieving, jumping taxpayers, gun slingin, you name it. It is horrific.

      • A-non – This area of the city has always been pretty shady before gentrification began. What newcomers who move to this area of the city need to understand is that this area has never really been considered a good area. Adding new restaurants and renovating the homes in the area is not going to bring about a sudden change.

    • Ever since the brilliant redistricting of the 3D and 4D borders, the area south of Park Road near Georgia has suffered due to a lack of attention from the 3D station way over at 16 and V. Even though there is the 700 block Park Road 4D station a couple blocks away!

      Incredibly IGNORANT planning to have a police station at the very border of a district and not have a radius of coverage. Either fix this or somehow make sure the 3D police are up in this are regularly (including foot patrol).

  • OP, sorry to hear that this happened to you and thanks for the heads up! I’d likely have done exactly what you did and have walked up Sherman at that time of night many times. Hope you’re able to catch the thieves!

  • So sorry to hear this OP! I’m glad you were not seriously hurt; pepper spray can cause really bad reactions in people with certain conditions, and I hope you’re continuing to feel okay. I too have been known to walk that stretch of road at all hours of the day and night for the last 7 years or so. I’ve gotten more cautious about the late nights in the past couple of years; anecdotally, I think I’ve seen more reports of random street crime in the area. sigh.

  • Even though there are tons of cool bars and restaurants to go to on 11th, it’s a shame that it feels too dangerous to walk too and from there, especially late at night. I think I’d only walk there if I was with at least 3 other people, but what use is a group of 3 people if some dude pull a gun out? Even walking there (from the direction of Columbia Heights) during the day feels unsafe. I’d generally prefer to go out to bars in safer areas like Adams Morgan (say what you will but there are no shortage of cops in and around there) and Dupont. I think the key to 11th is cabbing it in and out. Thugs know that there’s an overabundance of oblivious or overconfident hipster prey to be found walking too and from Wonderland, Meridian Pint etc..

Comments are closed.