Yes, This Has Been a Very Bad Summer

pain sculpture

From MPD:

“OFFENSE: Robbery [1:45pm]

The victim was involved in a car accident and another person came to help him. While there, they were approached by (3) suspects that displayed handguns and demanded their property. The suspects are described as black, males, in their 20’s, skinny builds, one had short dread hair style, and the other two had short hair. They were wearing white t-shirts and blue jeans.”

And another reader sends this report from WTOP:

“Ben Fishel, the grandson of the late CBS broadcaster Andy Rooney, says he was walking home recently near 11th and V streets in Northwest on July 19 when he was grabbed from behind and slashed across his face on his front steps.”

76 Comment

  • :-/ terrible.

  • Is there a way we can get a view of this blog without all the crime updates? Sometimes I don’t want to read bad news.

    • Most news IS bad news when you think about it. Shielding your eyes to bad news only builds tolerance/indifference to the information you’re choosing not to acknowledge.

      • I think this website demonstrates that there is a lot of good news too. It is one of the things I love about this site. Garden hauls, pets looking cure, new restaurants opening, props to the cops, house of the day. Sure, not all hard hitting stuff, but things that improve our lives in DC.

        I live on one of these problem corners and I’m confronted with this personally every day. The fact I may not want to read about does not shield me. I don’t think my tolerance/indifference is going increase b/c I don’t see/hear about crime every time I open a website.

        Plus, I didn’t say that I didn’t want to ever see it, but sometimes I just want to visit a favorite neighborhood news site and not have to see this every time.

    • I second that. I appreciate the reporting but it’s just making me want to move.

      • +1 The constant crime reports has me wondering if I should move back to NoVA. With all of the problems as of late, I’m having to remind myself more and more of all the things I like about the city to remember why I moved across the bridge.

    • Scrillin

      Only about 1/10th of what actually is going on gets posted here.

      Sign up for the MPD Email Alerts – then you’ll really be scared.

    • SilverSpringGal

      I actually am glad they’re reporting the crime that’s happening as it does. Tells me what to look out for and gives me an idea of whether or not I should commit to the place I was going to buy.

      • I didn’t don’t report it. It is very important to report it and my area is a getting a lot of police attention in part because of this site. But sometimes, especially on Sunday afternoon, I want to open POPville and read just the good news.

  • So it’s not just me and it really is way worse this summer, right? Last summer did not feel this bad at all. Now it seems like there is something every damn day. I have seen a lot more police–foot patrols, bikes, cars, everything in my neighborhood so that’s a plus.

    • justinbc

      Go back to last summer’s crime news posts, people will be saying the same thing. And the year before that. It only seems worse because it’s happening right now, and the crimes in the past (likely) didn’t actually affect us personally so we quickly forget them.

      • Incorrect. Homicides in DC are up 20% compared to the same time frame last year, and murders between May 1 and the end of June were double what they were last year. Gun crimes are up 16% from last year.

      • brookland_rez


      • I’ll argue that it’s more that this summer’s crimes appear increasingly random and wreckless, and also that the crime rates aren’t progressing in a way we’d expect. A spike is unsettling after several years of declining activity. Also, it’s a year later than last year. More people who didn’t live in Petworth have moved to Petworth. More people who didn’t live in Shaw have moved to Shaw. More people in DC’s hot neighborhoods are being exposed to harrowing levels of violent crime.

        • justinbc

          I think you hit the nail on the head with respect to expectations. People assume that more gentrification leads to rapidly decreasing crime rates…for some odd reason. It’s not like every one of the trouble cases has left the neighborhood, no matter what hood you’re in. Most of those same unwanted individuals are going to be there for a lot longer than people want, and their expectation on the crackdowns now that they’re living in the neighborhood is exponentially higher.

          • Another point re: expectations. Even if a neighborhood is changing in terms of development, I don’t think it’s uncommon to see some INCREASED crime in the early years. More people with money moving in means more potential victims. In addition, there’s a lot of displacement going on in D.C. with so many neighborhoods changing so quickly. That’s also associated with increased crime (there are studies you can find on this), especially when displaced people don’t have anywhere to land.

      • SusanRH

        I am not sure this is true, this summer really does seem worse. I don’t for the life of me ever remember being a bit scared of walking my dog in broad daylight before, but this summer I am a bit. Many of the crimes seem to be occurring in daylight and seem to be so random, it make this summer much scarier to me. My police alerts each day seem to be increasing and lot of them are Robbery/Fear, Robbery/Deadly weapon, things like that.

  • I really hope people will push Bowser to do something about this. It’s completely unacceptable.

  • Are people still thinking this is really just a “summer” thing? Do you think this will end come September/October? Somehow I’m thinking no.

  • I know this is going to sound really selfish and terrible, but sometimes I kind of wish these crime waves would bring housing costs back down to something I could afford!

    • sometimes i wish the rising prices and gentrification would push the blight, subsidized housing, and associated crime out (…unpopular opinion but true)

      • Hate to admit it, but I sometimes wish the same thing.

      • I think that opinion is actually quite popular, though one that is often held private.

        • I don’t see any reason to hold it in private as long as it doesn’t come hand in hand with hatred. I don’t want blight in my city, I don’t want crime, and I don’t want disastrous subsidized housing projects or project-equivalents to be deemed acceptable. The hard truth is that most street crime is committed by the impoverished and desperate. Improving the city through what normally gets classed as gentrification can help pull its underclass out of that state–and I’m talking in a macro level, because yes, the drug dealers who’ll shoot up a playground because why not are hopeless. The challenge is when we’re not able to distribute that housing adequately (breaking up hot spots for economic hardship and drug traffic and diminishing the acceptability of criminal activity) or when the city isn’t willing or able to engage in stronger, everyday policing of those areas. Steadily losing officers to retirement without replenishing the ranks is a big problem.

        • If you think that opinion is “often held private,” you must be new to this listserv (and pretty much every other listserv in DC). Any thread about any crime becomes a thread about gentrification.

      • justinbc

        Yeah, if only there were a direct correlation. The layers are so much deeper than that.

        • +1

          such a simplistic view of things. you might not think it goes hand in hand with hatred, but it does embrace an intolerance of certain individuals who are not committing crimes. rather than trying to push out the crime and think you can shield yourself in a safe bubble, maybe try and work at the root causes so that no one has to be hurt by crime, including those who can’t afford to live in your safe bubble.

          • sk, I don’t think what you’re suggesting is at odds with what I posted above. In my view, consolidation of poverty *is* one of the root causes of crime in DC. It shelters it and, like you said downthread, contributes to hopelessness and the lack of simple resources that puts many of DC’s poor in untenable situations. Few of them actually turn to crime, but the impacts of being stuck around dealers and their collateral damage negatively impacts everyone nearby.

      • Gentrification full speed ahead.

  • Start with facts. Yes, violent crime is up– wildly? you decide.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      Is it a fact that this crime map is comprehensive? Well you can decide that if you’d like too.

      • justinbc

        It definitely is not comprehensive. But it’s a better starting point than a subset of “feelings” from people scattered across various neighborhoods who have access to / knowledge about a specific blog which alerts them regularly of crimes. Only one of them is actually measurable.

        • I’m not sure why you keep arguing that this is a matter of perception, when crime is up as a matter of statistics.

          • justinbc

            “There have been 78 murders in the city as of Thursday, 12 more than at that point in 2014. That’s an 18 percent increase, year-over-year.”
            Because 2 more murders per month is not really a noticeable difference. People are acting like bodies are falling from the sky. It’s really not THAT different.

          • Tsar of Truxton

            I hate to agree, but he is right. It is such a SSS that it really means nothing alone. It could be that a few extra victims died from shootings/stabbings but the number of shootings/stabbings (or whatever) is the same. Violent crime rates would be a little more telling than murder rate, but it is still a pretty small sample and is dependent on reporting, so maybe just more violent crimes have been reported. Who knows.

          • “2 more murders per month is not really a noticeable difference.” Exactly. One more dead mother/brother/mentor/friend every two weeks doesn’t even register as a blip on the radar in the grand scheme of things. [eye roll]

        • Completely agree, but at the same time I’m glad this blog is calling attention to the uptick. As much as crime as fallen in D.C. it’s still way too high. And I’m not at all convinced that the powers that be are very motivated to address it. Perhaps they’ll find some motivation if they start to realize that people WILL move out of the city if they do not feel safe.

      • I wasn’t intending to imply that violent crime is or isn’t up wildly, more that it depends on where and what sort of violent crime. That it’s up is problematic, but I think these stats can help with perspective and, yes, I think they’re comprehensive reflection of reported crime. Not sure why one would think they aren’t.

    • Violent crime went up from 18 reported incidents to 34 reported in the same time frame this year for my area in Park View, which is all within a block or two of a police station. I’d say that nearly doubling the number of reported violent crimes probably constitutes an “up wildly.”

  • Pop, thanks for sharing. As sad as this news is, we NEED to publicize it if we’re going to demand change from city leaders.

    For those who want to read the blog without seeing crime reports, I figured out how to do it. Don’t move your mouse over crime-related threads and double-click the button on the left. This strategy works for 16th Street Barbie and popup threads too FYI.

    • I agree – this blog does a good job revealing the high and low lights of living in DC. And while I hate it, the presence of on-going harrowing (thanks Dognonymous) crime is sadly one of the foremost issues of living in Petworth, Shaw, and other neighborhoods often profiled here. I hope and pray (yes, pray) that those committing these acts come to understand and care about the misery they are bringing to others and themselves.

  • My partner told me that he saw a report that the city has about 500 fewer police officers than this time last year. Has anyone else heard this? That could help explain the uptick.

    I think a few factors play into this:

    1. Perps who are confident the police won’t catch them, even with more security cameras.

    2. As neighborhoods change, we have more lots more haves and have nots living close by. Unfortunately for some, when they’re surrounded by people with electronics and $$$, they think their only way to obtain them is by committing crimes vs. hard work and education.

    3. Not being aware of surroundings. It amazes me how many people are caught up into their phones that they don’t pay attention to their basic surroundings! Unfortunately there are those who prey on ppl absorbed into their phones. I’m not victim blaming, unfortunately perps use distraction to their advantage!

    4. Courts and jurys here in the city are way too sympathetic and easy on criminals. I had jury duty last fall and was appalled at how much benefit of the doubt ppl were giving the accused. He was in an apt that was raided and claimed none of the stuff was his. Problem is that he was wearing clothes from the evidence pics to court!

    • west_egg

      The police union has been warning for years — YEARS — that a crisis was on the way due to a wave of retirements + normal attrition. They had plenty of notice and did nothing. In other words, business as usual in DC.

      • I was at a community meeting a couple weeks ago and the police straight up admitted attrition was a huge issue. They mentioned the retirements and that the young guys don’t make it a career they way they did. He said they’ll do it for a few years until they get a call about a plumbing job that’s paying more and take that. It makes sense too…all the police officers I see are either in their twenties or fifties.

      • justinbc

        Same thing with fire and EMS. People aren’t really lining up to do these types of jobs anymore. So when people on here rant about wanting everyone fired for inexcusable wait times and blunders, who do you think is going to fill those shoes?

        • +1. I would love it if every single person who posts something like “I wish Muriel Bowser/Cathy Lanier/Obama (?) would actually do something about this” would think “I wonder what *I* can do about this” and think seriously about some kind of public service. There are a lot of important roles to be filled and the people who are working as police, firemen, EMS, etc could really use help, not just complaints.

          • It’s the job of a city to have a plan for providing essential services. While it’d be lovely if assorted DC residents took up the call to arms and became cops, that shouldn’t be a requirement to hit acceptable service levels. That’s on the city government and its various institutions. Their job is to govern. “Why don’t you do it?” is a dodge, not an answer.

          • I’m not suggesting in any way that leaders should be allowed to dodge by telling citizens the job of policing is their own to do. But I am suggesting that people tend to assume someone else should solve the problem rather than think about how they can contribute to a solution.

          • “I wonder what *I* can do about this”

            Is that an endorsement of the 2nd Amendment I hear?

        • west_egg

          Don’t even get me started on FEMS.
          Maybe if these agencies (1) recruited and (2) took a good, hard look at morale and the overall organizational structure, perhaps they’d be able to attract and retain talented candidates. People SHOULD be lining up for these kinds of jobs, particularly in the nation’s capital.

      • I thought I read recently (on here maybe?) that DC has way more police officers per capita than other major cities. Is the attrition perhaps intentional?

    • justinbc

      I’m not sure that “hard work and education” is really an option for some of these people. They’re well past the point where either of those is accessible or profitable, and for them petty crime actually is their career.

      • exactly. sure, some people are beyond hope. but for others, they never had access to so many simple resources. think about it this way, when you have three children at home to support and the only job you could find was a minimum wage job, you feel desperate. you seek to supplement your income however you can. you don’t think, “gee I’d love to go get myself a degree, on top of working sixty hours a week and taking care of three children on my own.”
        time and money are lacking for so many. it’s really not that easy.

        • I’m asking for clarification because I don’t want to read something into your comment that you didn’t intend.

          Is it your hypothesis that a significant portion of the people committing crime in DC are doing it to supplement income that they have from working full-time or more than full-time? Or were you saying that the only work they have available to them is low-paying, and therefore that they choose crime because it’s higher-paying/gives them a more flexible work schedule?

          • I think SK is saying that for some, there’s a sense of hopelessness (or resentment) and that they only way they’ll have more $$ than a minimum wage would pay is by resorting to crime and taking what belongs to others.

            That’s how I interpreted the comment.

  • Not summer. Are we forgetting the uptick in crime last December around the holidays? It’s been a bad year (especially for Columbia Heights/Park View/Pleasant Plains/Petworth.)

  • In an attempt to bring in some levity, I advise folks to YouTube “Hot Summer by f(x)”. It’s work-safe, though I’d advise wearing headphones. 🙂

  • This is unacceptable!

    Call, send a letter, email and harass our city leaders until something is done! Let them know we want cops OUT OF THEIR PATROL CARS and on the sidewalks interacting with our community. Our police need to do a better job of engaging in our community and letting us all know that they are here solely for our protection…all of us! I’m so sick of them sitting in their cars, face down on their phones, ignoring the communities around them. If they were out on foot, on Segways, on scooters and on bikes, it would deter crime AND help diminish the notion that cops are just power-hungry, lazy or not part of our community. We also need to demand that our AG does his job and prosecutes offenders instead of letting them off so easily.

    Mayor Bowser better wake up and do something!

    • I’m confident you’re the first person to ever suggest this. Pro tip: DC has had catch-and-release criminal “justice” for quite some time now. And beat cops walking sidewalks went the way of the police call box, shoefitting fluoroscopes, and sanitary napkin belts.

  • There also seems to be a ton of construction going on in many of these areas, which means it isn’t as densely populated as it could be a year from now. Hopefully that means this spike is temporary.

    I wonder if a community policing would have an impact – getting the police to walk around and know their neighborhoods and residents etc. more. Property prices and taxes are skyrocketing in many of the affected areas, so I would think there would be some funds available to pay for such programs.

  • Very bad trend compared to past years…not sure what’s behind it or what MPD is planning to do about it

  • More cops on foot and on bikes would help.

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