From the Forum – Break in and Suspicious Activity in Petworth

Photo by PoPville flickr user Jordan Barab

Break in and Suspicious Activity in Petworth:

“Just want to make readers aware that there have been two break ins in the last two weeks on New Hampshire Ave by Grant Circle. On Thursday night my Fiance heard someone knocking at the front door around 12:15am she then heard them trying to kick in the back door. She called the cops, they came search the house and yard. Found nothing. She left and went to her sisters. At about 1am I got a call from the alarm company that the back door had be opened. Cops came and found someone had broken into the house and stole some items. The tried to break in one door, and that didn’t budge, the basement door they were able to break in through.

There were signs that someone was casing the house earlier in the week, late knocks on the door that we ignored, but shouldn’t have. We also had a package stolen earlier in the week and our neighbor mentioned that she saw a man and woman in our yard multiple times.

Today I found out from a neighbor across the street that on the night our house was broken into a woman knocked on his door around 1am, when he answered she said she had the wrong house, there was a man on the street with her. He thinks this could be the same people our other neighbor saw earlier in the week.”

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47 Comment

  • This is terrifying. Are you feeling okay? Are you still staying there? I’m so, so sorry this happened to you!

  • I moved to Petworth recently and wonder, for a multitude of reasons, if I made a mistake.

    • My home in Petworth has never been burglarized, but my apartment in Dupont Circle was. It’s a horrible violation, but it happens in any number of neighborhoods all with varying degrees of perceived safety. I think this post should be used to raise alertness and to take any precautions you might not have thought of before. But to anecdotally conclude that this is a bad place to live is a bit silly.

      • I know several people who live in Petworth that have had their home burglarized, I’m willing to bet it happens less in Dupont

        • Sadly, Dupont is targeted frequently, I assume because of the perception of wealth. I’d say over half of the people I know who live in Dupont have had their houses/apts burglarized.

    • This sort of thing happens all over town.

    • I’ve lived in Petworth for 12 years and have never had anything happen to me.

    • I’ve been in Petworth for 8 years and have never had a problem at my home. (My yoga studio is a different issue, but that changed when I moved!). However, I’ve seen a lot of break-ins at newly renovated houses shortly after the new residents have moved in. In fact, that’s the case in most the break-ins that I’m aware of around Sherman Circle. It’s not random, and it helps if you have a dog who scares them away.

  • Scary! I hope they catch the people!

  • We are in the same general area and our house was broken in to during the day time just a couple of weeks ago. I think there were a few other instances posted on the Petworth Listserve.

    • I’m wondering if these folks are connected to the Hamilton St break ins that were happening a few weeks ago. Two people (although both described as male but that is subjective), knocking, scouting, etc. These folks used 2nd floor windows on top of front porches and back doors I believe.

  • We had an attempted break in in the first week of October in the middle of the day just west of the circle by 3 kids roughly in their middle teens, but our neighbors saw it and called the police and our motion sensors went off as well luckily. I have also heard of many people on the Petworth listserv talking about packages being stolen off their front porches east and south of Grant Circle recently.

  • We live up on Longfellow near New Hampshire and were home one afternoon a couple weeks ago when some kids who were offering to rake leaves (there were no leaves falling at the time) came up and tried our door knob before they then knocked. Our dog has a pretty big bark for her size, so I was relieved that maybe they will skip our house!

  • Can we get a description of the man and woman casing houses and knocking on doors late at night?

  • We moved in in 2012 and I felt that way at first, but now I love it. The green space is awesome, it has a neighborhood feel, and easy access to everything. Plus I have a full house, rather than a condo. I don’t think its any less safe than other neighborhoods.

  • samanda_bynes

    oh wow, that’s really scary. I used to live right on the corner of Petworth/Park View – never had any problems, but yeah, a description would be helpful! Hope you’re alright

  • I think PoPville readers have posted in the past to recommend that if someone knocks on your door in the middle of the night, don’t answer it, but DO do something to indicate that you’re there, like turning on an upstairs light.
    It would also be a good idea to report to the police anyone whom you suspect to be casing your home or your neighbors’ homes, like the kids trying the doorknob before they knocked, people knocking on doors and then saying, “Oh, wrong house,” etc.

    • Anyone knocks on my door at 1:00 am I’m calling the police, and I recommend others do the same. Either the person needs help or they’re up to no good. Either way the police will be helpful.
      And speaking of calling the police late night, there was a loud group fighting near my house last week, about 1:30 am. I called the police, and they were there in maybe a minute and a half. It could be someone else called before me, and that’s why it was so quick, but I was very happy with the response.

    • Yeah, definitely do not open your door, but don’t play possum either. There was that story from a couple years ago where a women knocked on a door in the middle of the night, scared and crying, begging to be let in. The homeowners let her in, and her three boyfriends came along, tied up and brutalized the couple.
      I will pull the curtain aside, turn on a light, call the police, etc. But I will NOT open the door.

      • This actually happened to my neighbors two houses over when I was very young in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia (Glen Allen). Terrifying and sad at the same time. Our human response is to want to help and yet stuff like this does happen.

  • My only fear is that any burglers would trash my place after finding nothing to steal. I have nothing of value in my apartment, anyone could take anything and I don’t think I’d care, I probably wouldn’t even notice if they were stealth about it.

  • I live in that neighborhood and get home around those hours. I guess I’ll start doing random walks through the alleys and streets to see if I come across anyone.

  • This is terrible, and I’m sorry it happened to you. I’m sure you have thought about adding security. We have steel gates on both our back doors. In the front, we installed door armor, which makes the door very difficult to kick in. Check out armorconcepts(dot)com. These measures don’t make your hours burglar proof, but they are a great deterrent. Most thieves will look for an easier target.

  • A woman aggressively banged on our front door near 13th and Quincy NW week before last at around 1:30am. I sat in the dark and watched. She was typing on a cell phone, so I thought, she’s able to call for help if she needs it. But I did wait for her to leave, and it looked like she didn’t simply go to the next house. The whole incident had my heart pounding though.

  • I would love to know the District’s plan to decrease crime and increase arrests. Does anyone else feel like incidents have been on the rise?

  • We also had our house burglarized. The individual broke in during the day, while we were home. Thankfully he fled once he realized there were people. We also have a neighbor who heard a knock on the door once, early evening, when she went to see who was at the door there was a male genitalia in the mail slot. I think Grant Circle and Upsherly should get down on this neighborhood watch. I can provide matching t shirst, hats and whistles.

  • The word is “burgled.” A driver drives, a teacher teaches, a burglar burgles.

    • Greg, is that you with the vocabulary lessons?

    • Thanks for being so helpful by correcting people’s grammar on a neighborhood blog

    • Dear BadReligion,

      I am very sorry for my grammar mistake. A mistake so atrocious that stole the attention from such an important post on safety in our neighborhood. I applaud you, and am very glad there are people like you out there. People who ensure accurate grammar is enforced. Heck, here we are suggesting a neighborhood watch, when we should be suggesting a grammar patrol! If it makes you feel any better, English is my second language. If I have any grammar problems in the future I’ll make sure to contact you 😉

  • Our house on Sherman was broken into last week between the time we left for work and when we got home 12 hours later. The police response after the initial questioning has been non existent. We even let them know when the “find my phone” ap notified us of the general area that the iPad and iPhone were located (2 blocks away!). But nothing has been done. It’s frustrating and so unsettling!

  • These late night knockings do seem disturbing. While I don’t have a story to share regarding home invasions, my wife and I did recently have a UPS-delivered package stolen off our front porch while we were at our respective workplaces. This is the first package (that we know of) that has been stolen off of our property. I just wanted to voice our frustration and mention that we’ve been pretty complacent for the year we’ve lived in our home near Grant Circle. All of our families now know to send gifts and goodies with a value over $30 to my workplace instead of directly to our home, lest our stuff get stolen again.

    Our mail carrier, Victor, has done a great job looking out for us “new” residents, lightly scolding us every time he finds an unclaimed package on our porch. Well, it’s finally sunk in as we’ve learned our lesson the hard way. Just want to add our package to the growing list of stolen property reported on PoPville.

    • We also have Victor as our mailman, and he is very helpful. We also had a package stolen last christmas. The individual not only stole our goods (in the excess of $100), but was also kind enough to leave the empty box in our garbage can!!! At least Petworth burglars don’t litter!

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