Council Member Jack Evans: “Talking about serious rise in crime in the District”

For those who said this wasn’t a bad summer.

@JackEvansWard2 tweets from The Kojo Nnamdi Show:

“Talking about serious rise in crime in the District. Proliferation of synthetic drugs is causing gang activity and violence across the city.”

42 Comment

  • But…but…but…the crime stats!!!

    • Exactly. So it’s finally getting bad enough that people are speaking out instead of trying to pretend it isn’t happening, in order to protect their property values.

  • Today someone on the metro kicked me, called me the B word, and then pushed me. I ran away and waited and when I went to leave he was waiting there to yell at me. I promise I did nothing out of the ordinary, I normally take my time and walk behind the crowds because I hate feeling rushed. I think the dude was on something because he seemed out of it. Not the best way to start my day.

    • I had a similar experience a few weeks ago, though I’m sure it wasn’t the same person. This was at 8:30am on my walk from the metro, a time I usually feel safe walking alone.

  • MVT

    Where does this stuff even come from and why are people using it instead of good old fashioned non-synthetic drugs? Is it really that cheap?

    • Mostly, it comes from China.

    • Comes from China. You can order in bulk at under half a cent a packet, then resell at your corner store for 5$ a packet.
      The problem goes beyond synthetics though.

    • jack5

      1. They’re broke

      2. People are often driven by chronic pain they have and then run out of prescriptions given to them by irresponsible health care professionals that started the dependence on drugs.

      3. Pain meds cost more than K2.

      4. One experience with K2 fulfills the patient’s need for temporary relief the first time and they’re hooked then on.

      • You’re point #4 sounds like k2 madness is not true. Don’t feed the fear. People are not “hooked” on their first try.

      • LOL. Yeah this is all about people who can’t get the right prescriptions to treat their chronic pain. Right. We’ll just ignore the fact that these synthetic drugs aren’t opiates and have no analgesic properties.

  • Synthetic drugs seem like too facile an explanation. Haven’t these been around for years? Why the surge in crime now?
    It kind of feels like a change in the zeitgeist, doesn’t it? People are angrier or more desperate, or something.

    • Agreed, plus I thought one of the biggest problems with these synthetics is that they’re mostly available over the counter. How does that translate into gang activity and turf wars?

      • People are behaving irrationally, and most of the synthetics are sold on the street, not over the counter.

        • And selling on the street is likely to increase with the increased enforcement against stores that sell synthetics.

    • The new formulations are well, pretty extreme. Plus they are mixing it with PCP. People forget they change the formulas for synthetics constantly, and now they are highly psychoactive in the worst way possible.

    • Of course, he’s going to have a facile answer. Evans is a gasbag K- Street lawyer owned by developers. The best thing that could happen would be to split up his District, so that serious candidates wouldn’t be scared off by his financial advantages.

  • I’m convinced that synthetics have nothing to do with the recent spike in crime. Politicians and law enforcement leadership are using it as a scapegoat because they don’t know how else to explain the uptick.

    Interesting how the spike in crime comes after a winter and spring which saw people all over the country telling cops that they don’t know how to police fairly and effectively….

    • I have been thinking about this a lot too, I have to think that some of this spike is as a result of the events in Ferguson, Baltimore, etc. Criminals seem so how emboldened by those events. And in DC there seems to be little in the way of consequence for committing a crime, that has to embolden people too. Our justice system is broken!

    • 1000+ Agreed. I believe we have pushed the cops to tone done their policing, so the “policed” are getting more out of hand and not being proactively managed.”

      • I don’t buy that argument at all, especially when it comes to policing in DC. For years, DC residents have been calling for the kind of intrusive policing – zero tolerance, broken windows, stop and frisk, etc – used in cities like New York. In other words, for policing to be “toned up.” MPD has refused to do it. Yet even without broken windows and foot patrols, crime has nonetheless decreased significantly since I moved to DC in 2000.
        But the revolving door criminal justice system has always been and continues to be a problem.

  • I’m guessing I’ll get trashed for saying this, but I’ve wondered, based on the timing, if the spike in crime across the US is aftermath of the Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Michael Brown cases – essentially, an ongoing continuation of the Baltimore riots. It takes a person of with a weak ethics and great hopelessness to commit acts of violence and I wonder if these cases have pushed those on the verge of violence over the mental line. Sort of like these events have divorced at-risk people from restraining themselves on moral grounds – “I’m justified in doing these things because I’m oppressed” and the media, protestors and cop bashers play right into it.

    • I’m skeptical that people who commit crimes think about how they are now so much more justified in creating random violence. My suspicion is the opposite of yours – a de facto work slow-down by MPD in solidarity with “persecuted” cops in Baltimore, NYC, etc. Boys in blue are a really sensitive bunch, given how tough they act.

  • Ultimately, without a functioning judicial system that takes criminals (of any age) off the street, it simply doesn’t matter how many cops and synthetic drugs are out there and what politicians are saying. Everyone keeps blathering on and on about cops, arrests and drugs because they’re tangible. Yet, the District has made it impossible to learn the extent to which criminals are prosecuted — so the whole thing is a joke. And since neither the long time residents nor the gentrifiers will demand that politicans address the city’s blase attitude towards sentencing (because in DC it’s wrapped up with race, which gets too close to the police brutality issues) nothing serious will be done about crime.

  • jack5

    Lack of enforcement is causing the crime wave… Street dealers aren’t selling K2, corner stores are.

    I think a bit of arrogance exists among police now that they’ll “sit back” until brutality incidents/claims subside and people start begging for their help, but in truth, Law enforcement is a service we pay for so that we don’t need to own our own guns and if that fails us, the whole model falls apart.

    If people don’t pay their taxes you can be sure they’ll go to jail, but if they pay taxes and don’t get the rights, freedoms and protections that are specified in our contract with state & local governments, nothing happens.

    This may prove to be a pivotal period when looked back upon in history.

    • I think street dealers could be selling not the leafy herbal substance you know of as “k2” but the actual powdered chemical “k2” which can easily be purchased in bulk online and then applied to an herb and smoked.
      As someone a few threads above stated it is very very cheap and in the black market could be very profitable but most importantly EXTREMELY dangerous if mixed with other drugs like pcp or any other synthetic “party drugs”.

  • Interesting thoughts from the people commenting above me. My take on the whole crime spike across the nation is that there are probably a number of things going on at once. The economy is still not very great, so you have a lot of people who are feeling poorer and more hopeless. The police are most certainly reacting to their new status as being constantly watched- by video, by the press, and by everyone. They know the population is ready to seize on slight, real or imagined. If the police force feels like it could be crucified at any moment, even when they are doing things that are justified, they’re going to naturally not be as vigilant at their jobs (after all, like you and me, most of these folks just want to get paid and return home at night, without facing a mob or a career-destroying lawsuit). One thing I’ve learned in the past few years is that justice is not necessarily going to happen- even when you do all the right things. Society is quick to react and quick to judge. Ironically, since we have a black President, I think race relations are the worst they’ve been since the early 1960s. This may contribute to the overall anger that feels almost palpable to me. Not sure what the answer is to any of this, but I do suspect this uptick may be here with us for awhile.

    • I don’t think we can honestly say race relations are that their worst point since the 1960s. No doubt we have had a series of racially charged news events. But, on a day to day basis race relations are probably better than they have ever been. I know first hand. I’m in a black-white inter-racial relationship (same sex no less). Our family and friends are all supportive of our relationship without any hesitation. We have never had any issues with discrimination. We go to restaurants, travel together, looked for a house together and it has always been fine. Black people, white people, Hispanics, Asians, everyone has been fair to us. The worst thing we have ever had happen is maybe some staring or a double take if we are holding hands in public.

      Not to say everything is prefect. Of course, racism still exists and we have major issues with intergenerational concentrated poverty. But, we are slowly making progress on race relations. It just that the positive news tends to be small discrete events that don’t make the news.

  • That’s what I like to hear from our elective representatives! I completely agree that the spike in crime is caused by just one issue-of-the-moment that makes for an easy scapegoat, and I refuse to consider any nuanced explanation that recognizes a multitude of overlapping social issues that would require a strategic, long-term, cooperative response. Go Team DC!

  • It’s interesting to read the theorists who think this new “crime wave” is a result of recent, high-profile incidents involving alleged police misconduct. I see at least two problems with this argument:
    1) It’s unacceptable to me that police misconduct, if it exists, should not be addressed in a meaningful way because it might cause police officers to have their feelings hurt and not do their jobs. Sort of flies in the face of the “most cops are good cops” argument.
    2) If you jump in the not-so-wayback time machine and look at posts on this listserv (and others) from 2, 5, 10 years ago, long before Ferguson, Eric Garner, etc, you will find that almost every year – typically in summer – there was concern about a crime wave washing over DC. The rationales have changed, but the complaints haven’t.

    • If you actually bothered to look at some numbers you would see that a) the increase is beyond the typical summer spike in crime; and b) it seems to be more random than usual. I think when it was confined to certain neighborhoods and among the same groups as usual it wasn’t so unnerving – don’t go to those neighborhoods, don’t join a gang, and you would be fine. Now it seems like maybe you won’t be fine in your own neighborhood away from shady folks.

      • One comment I do not agree with is “it seems like maybe you won’t be fine in your own neighborhood away from shady folks”.

        Most of the “hip” places to live in DC are simply NOT “safe” neighborhoods away from shady folks! Your own included.

        All of these places: Shaw, U Street, Columbia Heights, H Street, Mount Vernon, NoMa, the eastern end of Capitol Hill, etc. – these are NOT Friendship Heights. But more and more people have been moving to these areas.

        I’m not saying crime has not increased this summer, but I do think part of it is perception because more and more people are noticing it in these areas as they move there.

        • Noticing crime more, and tolerating it much, much LESS. That is what it is going to take. Wish we could bring back the Olde English punishment of “transportation”.

    • I agree with you on the 1st point. But, to the 2nd point there has been a documented rise in crime across several cities this year. Obviously, there is no definitive proof that it is tied to the national controversies on policing. But, the rise does appear to be more than just internet chatter.

    • “most cops are good cops”? Dude, it is open season on the police, and the good ones know that they are as vulnerable as the bad ones are to mob justice. Look at the Baltimore 6- believe me, the cops are taking note of all of that. Look at DeBlasio’s treatment of the police- yep, they’ve taken note of that, too. They know that people are salivating at the chance to bring a lawsuit, and they know the politicians won’t have their back- they are assumed guilty. Seriously, what would you do when the deck is stacked against you like it is today? Can’t say I blame them, and quite frankly, your believing it is unacceptable doesn’t mean a damn thing to guys who just want to keep their job and avoid a lawsuit, jail time, or a career ender.

      • Truth.

      • “the good ones know that they are as vulnerable as the bad ones are to mob justice”

        Whatever. I get it that morale is down – which is a problem of the police’s own making. Just like crime has been slowly increasing, so has the realization among the public that there are too many cops out there who are doing not just a bad job but are abusing their positions and ruining (and often ending) lives inappropriately.

        As long as police act halfway professional they are going to be safe in the court of public opinion. That’s all we’re asking for – halfway professional.

  • Three points:
    1) there is no truly legal way to sell pot in the District, but it’s now legal to smoke it. Could that mean there’s increased demand/buyers, and so more gangs trying to get in on the distribution business?

    2) homeless, mentally ill- DC doesn’t seem to have a comprehensive approach to dealing with these issues. Surely they contribute to the crime and violence uptick.

    3) I thought I heard or read somewhere (maybe on Popville? WAMU?) that 500 cops (out of 4200 or so) are eligible for retirement this year and haven’t been replaced. That’s a big bite out of the force.

Comments are closed.