Reader Reports Shots Fired and Increased Drug Dealing around Holmead Place and Newton

“Dear PoPville,

Anyone hear the two to three gunshots in Columbia Heights early Sat morning, around 3:30 at Holmead Place and Newton?

Also has anyone seen an uptick of drug activity -selling- around 14th and Meridian, by the old Get A Way spot? This activity is spilling over to the side streets both East and West of 14th. Newton, Meridian, Oak. Lots of people hannging out on these residential corners waiting for deliveries.”

33 Comment

  • I heard it and called it in to 911.

  • Chief Cathy Lanier has REPEATEDLY stated PUBLICLY that this city does not have a drug problem anymore and that all drug business is conducted over social media i.e. crack heads purchase their crack cocaine over Facebook and Twitter. Yeah, right. I think you all can see what’s really going on on the streets.

    Stop giving this lady an 85% approval rating.

    • I totally agree. Sometimes I think our city leadership and MPD like to sweep things under the rug. Unfortunately, they have a habit of ignoring the citizens who live on these blocks and witness illegal activities everyday. They dismiss our concerns because “crime is down.” I’m sorry, but stats don’t always tell the whole story.
      I live in Petworth and the same blocks have been having trouble for awhile now and the crime continues unabated. No arrests. No updates. Maybe a public meeting or press conference, but in my experience it’s all a show.

      • Do you subscribe to the daily arrest emails from MPD? I get the 4D one, and there are definitely a LOT of arrests taking places. Maybe they aren’t arresting the people you want them to, but I’m always a little surprised at the sheer number when I actually dig into that email.

  • This is also right where the MD guy was murdered several weeks ago. Coincidence?

  • I’m sure councilmember Brianne Nadeau will make sure the concerns of the homeowners in her district will be heard, and appropriate actions taken against the outside violence and dealers from PG and Montgomery County (and points beyond south of the border).

    • It’s adorable that you think all the criminals are from outside your area… But the truth is some of the criminals live in the neighborhood that you spent 500k+ to live in…

      • +1000

      • Sure there are criminals that live in the neighborhood. But there it can’t come as a shock that a lot of this crime comes from surrounding areas as well. I would say the predominant amount at this point based on housing prices and sales.

    • I can’t tell if you are serious…?

  • Question: How should one proceed when witnessing utterly suspicious activities on the street? One can’t really call 911, can one — even for constant, daily obvious drop-offs and handouts, periodic half-block rides in cars, and duffel bags deposited under porches for an hour, can one? I feel like if I’m caught observing this stuff, I might be in danger. What to do? (Sorry for my naiveté!)

    • You can definitely call 911 or 311. All calls go to the same city-wide call center (the real emergencies are transferred to MPD dispatch). Calling and reporting detailed suspicious activity is a good thing bc it becomes intel the police use to target resources.

      • Seconding what John wrote. The Commander of the police district I live in has asked neighbors not to hesitate to call 911. It is not just an emergency line, but should also be used to report suspicious activity as it is happening.

        Another option I would suggest is to get to know your local police. If you have particular houses where this is always happening go to a PSA (Police Service Area) meeting when your local police meet with neighbors to discuss concerns. You should also email your local PSA officers directly and introduce yourself and let them know details of when and where this activity is happening. You can find info on all of the above items (PSA maps, email addresses, etc) here:

    • In D.C., 911 is for ALL police calls, not just emergency ones. (This has been the case for several years, ever since the D.C. government changed 311 from the non-emergency police number to a citywide services number.) The Commander for my district confirmed this at a recent neighborhood meeting.
      Obviously you don’t want to call 911 within earshot of the people conducting the drug activity, but call if you’re far enough away or when you get home, etc.
      I also second what Jonah said — look up your Police Service Area (PSA), find out who’s in charge of it, and e-mail them/phone them with this information.

    • Thank you, everyone. I’ll give this a try.

    • If it’s actual drug activity you’re seeing, which watching things like one person take money and then someone else fetches items from a bag, you can contact your District’s Vice office. Their number is on the District homepage. They are tasked with street transactions of drugs. You can offer up your house as an observation point so they can make a case. Most people clearly won’t want to get that involved, but you should call and see how they want to play it.

  • An Increase? Really? There’s been selling and guns in that neck of the woods for decades??

    • +1. There was a house on the end of Newton that we used to buy pot at in high school in the mid 1980s until the family who owned the place switched over to selling just crack. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

      • I used to walk to the Giant on Holmead. At the corner of Holmead and Newton (on the SE corner of Newton), was THE sketchiest house with randoms hanging around. I always assumed they were up to no good. Is that the same house you’re referring to?

    • not an increase overall in the past 30 years, but an increase from the past 3 or 4 years.

  • You can put a lot of the blame on the republican congress, no thanks to them, defying the will of the people and the council of DC they took away our law to legalize pot. The quickest way to put the drug dealers out of business is to legalize it. But, those republicans don’t mind seeing lives ruined. More lives are in danger from the dealers then the users .

  • Was in the area last night–noticed that a police car was parked/staffed at 14th & Newton.

    • There have been a lot more cops on these blocks but clearly not going to stop this crap. Start making some god damn arrests and crack down on this crap. Do some damn police work instead of sitting in cars and shooting the shit.

      • Parking a car on the corner or more visible police doesn’t solve the problem. There need to be investigations. Special Task Forces for areas that are routinely a problem. Coordination among the DA, Mayor/Council and Police. This is what most cities do…

  • The problem is that we keep picking up the retailers and not the customers… The demand for illegal drugs is driven by demand. There aren’t dealers actively trying to hook lots of people on drugs any more like there were in the Edmunds era, but the people in our communities who buy drugs should be looked at in the same light as the dealers to combat this new phase in my opinion.

    • Agree to a certain extent but these may not be active sellers – just stash houses esp if people are just doing drop offs.

      I don’t see a ton of street level buys in this area – some by the metro stop and methodone clinic but not a lot of street buying around where these shootings have taken place

    • No, I think dealing is the civic problem lies. With large amounts of drugs — and we’re talking PCP, crack and “heron” here — come guns and violence.

    • I couldn’t disagree more. If you’re making a case for locking up individual users, I suspect you may be a shill for the for-profit prison industry. Because NO ONE else stands to gain from the incarceration of non-violent personal-use buyers. Most people who are paying attention came to the realization long ago that jail time for non-violent drug offenders creates more harm than it removes. That sort of short-sighted, knee-jerk nonsense has destroyed swaths of the US.
      This situation calls for intelligent policy solutions, not dumb easy out-of-sight-out-of-mind non-solutions.

  • I’ve been in touch with MPD about the crime activity in this area and we’re urging everyone to get involved . ANC 1A is currently looking for residents to serve on its Public Safety Committee. MPD’s next PSA meeting is at 7:00pm on 2/18 at 750 Park Road It’ll include supervisors from both PSA 409 and the bordering district, 302. To say these meetings are poorly attended is an understatement. I’m empathetic with the frustration voiced by commenters here — I walk down Holmead every day — but it’s imperative that if we’re to encourage proactive policing, we communicate as frequenty as possible with MPD. If anyone’s ever unsure whether to call 911, call 911. And please, please get involved. -Matt

    • Sadly, a lot of people don’t want to get involved when you hear things from the police like after that murder Police Officer: “We need to get you out of here if you are going to talk to the us (the police)- the perpetrators may still be in the area seeing who is talking to the police. We can’t really protect you. They know where you live.”

      I feel like serving on neighborhood type committee like this could just put a target on your back if the wrong people are observing activity that is challenging their drug and violence activities. As much as people want to help, most people have learned that minding your own business is the only safe option when you have a police force that is apathetic at best most of the time. They care about stats and perception – not really cleaning up the streets – it’s why we’ll get the hell of DC first chance we get. I’m tired of our tax dollars being wasted.

      • The purpose of these sorts of committees and meetings isn’t to inform on anyone and it seems silly to think that there’s danger in volunteering to be a police liaison. I don’t think that anyone on a public safety committee is in any real danger and posts like these discouraging people shouldn’t be taken seriously. It sounds like it was informed by the Wire or something. Columbia Heights citizens aren’t being murdered for going to PSA meetings.

        • I think both have to be weighed. I wouldn’t blame someone for not wanting to get involved in any type of police or safety committee. On the flipside, things probably don’t get better without involvement of those that live in the areas affected. I just wouldn’t put ANYTHING past a criminal AND have little trust in police here in DC after 20 years of living here.

  • Why do we always have to ASSUME drugs and guns are related? where is your EVIDENCE? Doing drugs makes people CHILL OUT. Alcohol is obviously to blame here.

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