Meeting Tonight about Yesterday’s Shots Fired around a Children’s Playground in Columbia Heights

From Council Member Nadeau’s Office:

“Councilmember Brianne Nadeau will be convening a public meeting tonight (Wed 7/8) at 9pm with MPD and DPR to answer any questions parents may have about the incident yesterday at the Columbia Heights Community Center, what the response was from the government agencies, and the work we are all doing to keep our neighborhood safe.

What: Public meeting with MPD and DPR about incident at 14th and Girard
Who: Councilmember Brianne Nadeau, Third District MPD Commander Jake Kishter, DPR Chief of Staff John Stokes, other officials and representatives to be confirmed
When: TONIGHT, Wednesday, July 8, 9pm
Where: Columbia Heights Community Center (1480 Girard Street NW)

Tonight’s meeting will be a chance to bring community members together so we can get all the facts out, and bring some comfort to our residents.

The meeting will complement Councilmember Nadeau’s ongoing efforts to improve public safety in the neighborhood.

On Thursday, July 16 from 4-6pm, Councilmember Nadeau and Mayor Bowser will hold a meeting at the Columbia Heights Rec Center to discuss community concerns, including public safety. Immediately before the meeting, the Mayor and Councilmember will take a “Results Walk” with the Joint Roll Call team, a community-police collaboration supported by the Councilmember that meets weekly to share information about public safety concerns.

Councilmember Nadeau’s office is also working with the Department of Behavioral Health to focus their prevention services in areas of concern to Columbia Heights residents. Last week, DBH’s team was on site at Columbia Heights metro to provide support services. The office is also in the process of organizing several public safety walks and meetings at locations in the Ward, and other efforts with ANCs, MPD, and DPR to address ongoing concerns in the area. Last week, the Councilmember met with DPR Director Anderson to talk about the work they are doing to prevent violence among youth with the programming they do throughout the year. The Councilmember has been working closely with MPD throughout Columbia Heights on issues that have arisen this year as well.”

39 Comment

  • At this point the only “results walk” I want to take is through prison after they put these a-holes there. I’ve had enough worthless awareness campaigns from this mayor, while they catch and release DC offenders. People who shoot up playgrounds do not deserve a second chance.

  • Can someone please explain this results walk to me? I understand the basic idea but it does nothing, is it just to say they’ve done something when all the residents are like what are you doing?

  • I am a big fan of making recreational facilities and services available to young people. So it’s great that DPR is working on this. But I have never bought the idea that kids engage in criminal behavior because “they have nothing else to do.” There is a moral component missing. Either lessons about right and wrong are not being taught, or they are not being learned. You don’t fire a gun at someone, particularly when there are innocent bystanders around, because you had nothing better to do.
    By all means, have as many social and recreational programs as possible. But start locking up the bad actors for as long as possible too.

    • I was just wondering about this. What would possess anyone to do this? Certain people always love to invoke religion, but there are churches galore in the ‘hood, and in contrast, DC’s middle classes, especially all the recent arrivals, seem pretty secular and peaceful (regardless of race). I just wanted to nip that argument in the bud.

      Where do all these violent youths come from, and why do they act like this? A lot has been written about fatherlessness and other things; see my suggestion about LARCS, but is that the whole story?

      • It’s not a sexy problem, but lead poisoning is a pretty serious issue in low income communities in older cities on the east coast and it leads to a lot of developmental and behavioral problems that unfortunately can result in anti social behavior.

      • You might also be interested to read about developmental concepts like executive function, toxic stress, and impulse control. There’s a lot of new neurological evidence that when children grown up in high-stress environments, their brains develop in significantly different ways than when children have reasonably stable childhoods. In addition to problems like lead poisoning and poor nutrition, there are some biological reasons that children in poverty might become more violent.

  • You can’t simultaneously work to “improve public safety in the neighborhood” and advocate for more Section 8 housing in Columbia Heights/Spring Road. You just can’t. At least not with a straight face.
    I’ll pass on the meeting. And the walk. I’ve done both too many times.
    All we can do is wait 39 months until the next election. Won’t be fooled again.

    • So if we got rid of all subsidized housing in Columbia Heights, crime would disappear? Or perhaps the causes of crime are a little bit more complicated than that.

      • I’ve lived in DC all my life and I’ve never heard of a gun being shot on a playground in the Palisades neighborhood.
        Today’s NY Times had a great article “Vouchers Help Families Move Far From Public Housing” that highlights the serious consequences of concentrating poverty.
        Unfortunately our Councilmember is counting on propping up – and adding to – this demographic as a means to guarantee being reelected. While it may provide job security for one, it ultimately (as the article points out) hurts the exact people she is trying to help, and brings the rest of us along for the ride.
        The article mentions, by the way, that the Obama administration is in support of not concentrating affordable housing. Prior to being elected our Councilmember allegedly had ties to groups deeply involved in the Occupy movement. Unfortunately there is nothing the Obama administration does that the Occupy movement supports, science and facts be damned.

      • Yes, a large majority of it would

      • The anti public housing crowd was not protesting public housing when these neighborhoods were full of middle to low income and poor people. It’s only an issue now that these neighborhoods have become hot commodities and expensive to live in. If you moved to CH or Shaw thinking that these buildings were eventually going to be torn down to make way for more rich folks, blame yourself for being delusional.

    • If “section 8 housing” is the problem, why is gun crime dramatically lower in European capitals — like London, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Vienna — full of public housing (like 50 percent of the housing stock)?

      Not all people who can’t afford to pay private sector, market rent in DC are criminals. Many of these people are probably nannies of children who were playing in the park — or teaching assistants at their schools. Please stop blaming affordable housing for every problem in this city.

      • Your argument about section 8 housing in the U.S vs England is very short sighted. Nor does it deal in reality. England is not the U.S. I wish we had the gun laws and social programs that England has, but we don’t. Would I support those things? Absolutely. But the reality is that given all of the social variables where the U.S lags behind most of Europe, low income housing tends to lead to more crime in the surrounding area. We can’t change gun, drug or other social laws given the makeup of congress, but we can do affordable housing the RIGHT WAY. And that means not over concentrating it while missing low income residents in with market rate units. Studies show mixed income developments actually lower the likelihood of crime and can help lift people up. That’s why the Old Hebrew Home needs market rate condos as well as middle income and low income units. So given the reality of the U.S, let’s deal in reality and not pretend this is some fantasy land and we can turn into England over night. The three playground shootings in ward 1 & ward 4 aside, residents are being assaulted and robbed on a daily basis Columbia Heights, for crying out loud. What’s more important?

        • Section 8 housing is absolutely the cause if this violence. Are there innocent, hard-working people living there? Of course. But these facilities are also the source of virtually all violence in Columbia Heights and similar areas. The young professionals working at non-profits are not mugging people…

          We can debate how to best accommodate the honest residents of Section 8 housing, but we should at least be honest with ourselves and admit that crime is emanating from a few – very obvious – locations in Columbia Heights, Shaw, etc.

          • HaileUnlikely

            It’s more complicated than that. Houses in Columbia Heights were very affordable before they weren’t. Most people who live in houses in Columbia Heights (not all, but I suspect nearly half if not over half) bought them a long time ago, or perhaps their parents or grandparents or uncles bought them a long time ago. Yes, the contribution of the occupants of the subsidized housing in Columbia Heights to the crime problem is decidedly non-zero and is probably disproportionately high, but a substantial portion of it is associated with occupants of houses owned by the bad guys themselves and/or their families, and another big chunk of it is thugs who don’t even live anywhere near the area who come in and cause trouble.

      • Crime is higher around council estates in the UK, Rosengård in Sweden and the banlieues outside of Paris. One of the worst things about being poor is being forced to live near other poor people.

        “Not all people who can’t afford to pay private sector, market rent in DC are criminals.”

        Strawman, no one ever said that they are all criminals. But they are disproportionately criminal.

        “Please stop blaming affordable housing for every problem in this city.”

        Another strawman, as no one has ever blamed affordable housing for every problem. But it is very closely linked with crime. To think otherwise requires an incredibly blinkered perspective, bordering on willful ignorance.

  • Will this results walk address the drug dealing outside of the health clinic or the serial intoxicants all along 14th……i somehow think not….I would even bet that these walks have their own PD forward walks to clear the way for the politicos and cameras……..

  • I’ve been through these community meetings and crime walks so many times, I could predict the rhetoric we’ll hear. Until the Mayor and Nadeau decide to get tough on crime, nothing will change. It’s the same families, the same houses and the same corners that are problems; yet nothing is ever done. They’ll hold a community meeting to reassure the public and calm the masses; meanwhile… the crime continues. It’s particularly bad in ward 1 and ward 4.

  • If you paid any attention to the last election, there was no real attention given to crime. It was all housing, ethics and economy. Those are all important, but how could the candidates turn a blind eye to safety? I’m going to need our leaders to put this issue front and center. It’s not just a one sided issue either. Everyone is a victim in this situation from the very rich to the very poor to everyone in between. Kids are dying and good people are being hurt and violated. How deaf and blind can people be? I don’t fault the police either. This an executive and legislative issue. Laws need to be passed and money needs to be funneled to solve this

    • What kind of laws do you think should be passed?

      • We can start by implementing a Colorado-style program of subsidized, encouraged long-acting reversible contraception. We wouldn’t even have to wait 18 years for results, as fewer unplanned pregnancies mean fewer people dropping out of school, and much less economic hardship.

        On the extra-legal front, I would want to see some vigilantism, frankly. Just not with guns.

        • I could not agree more. Unfortunately the Colorado legislature declined to continue funding the program. Because Republicans there thought that providing birth control might cause young women to go “looking for love in all the wrong places”.

          I also believe some parenting support would help, to reduce the screaming and cussing at toddlers that takes place, which in turns produces kids full of fear and rage.

          • That’s true, but they might be able to make up at least some of the shortfall. In any case, their results have gotten a ton of press recently, which should have results in places with a smaller Religious Right. Yeah, screaming and cursing at toddlers is horrifying. I’m so glad I had a vasectomy.

  • This is pretty damn important. I hate suburbs, and I would hate for anyone with children (and the means to do so) feeling like they have to flee the city because once again it’s being taken over by violent criminals.

    • Too late. My wife and I just moved to Alexandria after 5 years in Columbia Heights. The crime the past year or two has gotten out of control and shows no signs of slowing down. Stabbings, shootings and robberies happening multiple times a week. The last straw was a girl getting sexually assaulted right outside my gym on 14th st at 6:30am. Alexandria just had it’s first murder of the year in the last week or so. Both our commutes are shorter. And we still have a Chipotle across the street. I think we’ll be fine here in the “burbs”.

      • Ditto here, except we went in the other direction (Bethesda).

      • because chipotle is why we all live in the city…

        • +1 I’d imagine its living across from a suburban strip mall.

          • Right, because living across from DCUSA is such an authentic urban experience.

          • I don’t understand this comment – why can’t national retail be part of “authentic urban”? It was before suburbanization and, if you’ve ever been to New York, even outer boroughs, developments like DCUSA are commonplace in very urban environments.

      • Same here as well. Moving to Falls Church next month. I love DC deeply but we have kids now, and we’re not willing to potentially sacrifice their safety just so we can live where we want to. Now, if we could afford to settle in the “safe” areas in a big enough place for our growing family, that would be a different story entirely. But we can’t, so off we go 🙁

        • Can we start a post on the forums for apartments being vacated in CH by families with small children to match them with those with no kids who aren’t as concerned? This seems like a great public service.

      • Alexandria isn’t so bad. It could be much worse.

  • but we’re having Alley-palooza. the mayor is a freaking joke,

  • I think it’s pretty clear Bowser is in over her head and can’t/won’t get it together. I feel like we’re just waiting until she gets out of office and we can assess how much of the city is left.

Comments are closed.