Sadness, Anger and Frustration Mount with More Crime Reports


MPD responds to a request for more info:

“RPT DATE: 08/14/2015 19:20
OFFENSE: Robbery
METHOD: Robbery
LOCATION: Highway/Road/Alley/Street
START DT: 08/14/2015 14:23
END DT: 08/14/2015 14:24

The victim of the robbery was approached by two males on bicycles. One of the suspects displayed a handgun and demanded the victim’s property. The suspects are described as:

S-1 black, male, 13-14 years of age, 5’3”-5’5”, slim built, medium complexion, high top fade haircut wearing a black tank top and black shorts

S-2 black, male, 10 years of age 4’6”-4’8”, slim built, light complexion, twists in hair, red t-shirt

RPT DATE: 08/14/2015 20:22
OFFENSE: Sex Abuse
METHOD: First Degree Sex Abuse – Force

The sexual assault occurred in the 1400 block of Quincy Street, NW. The Sexual Assault Unit detectives are investigating the case.”

Also from MPD:

“The Metropolitan Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying and locating a suspect in connection with a First Degree Sexual Assault while armed incident that occurred on Sunday, August 16, 2015, at approximately 6:00 am, in the 600 block of Park Road, Northwest.

An adult female was approached by a suspect and was sexually assaulted at gunpoint. The suspect is described as a Black male, 5’5”-5’6”, in his twenties, medium complexion, and muscular build. He was observed wearing a blue and white plaid shirt, blue jeans, blue or purple in color hat, and black sunglasses. The suspect was armed with a black handgun.

Anyone who has information regarding this case should call police at 202-727-9099. Additionally, information may be submitted to the TEXT TIP LINE by text messaging 50411.”

128 Comment

  • We are living with a population in moral decline. This is an issue that can’t be solved by law enforcement alone. Especially when you have armed 10-14 year olds running around.

  • 10 and 13 year old perps. WTF!

    • Sadly, crimes are committed by this age group more than you’d think. I served 3 months on a DC Grand Jury and heard lots of cases involving individuals from this age range. Pity.

  • 10 years old?!?!?

  • HaileUnlikely

    That is terrifying. The first of two times that I was robbed at gunpoint in DC (President’s Day 2006, ~ 6 PM, 14th & Madison St NW), it was a group of 3 kids, the oldest of whom couldn’t have been older than 14-15 and had a gun. I was afraid that he was going to get scared and shoot me by accident.

  • This is depressing. Everything is depressing lately…I don’t know man.

  • OK, children running around armed and robbing people is absolutely terrifying. What is the hell is going on?!

    • I have heard from people in the juvenile justice community that many younger kids who commit these crimes are forced to do so by older individuals since minors records are generally sealed.

  • I really hope someone intervenes with these two boys before their lives are permanently destroyed.

    • Sounds like they were destroyed before they were even born.

    • Bloomingdale Jim

      Come on – these kids are 13 and already robbing people with a gun. I think their lives are already ruined.

    • and before they damage/destroy more lives. I’m all about helping youth and agree these boys need help so they don’t end up dead/locked up for a long time, but these robberies can leave long-lasting traumas on victims, too. This is sad any way you look at it.

    • Yes, they haven’t actually shot the gun yet, that we know. Probably at the stage of getting a kick out of how waving a gun around scares people.

  • You know, with the spike in robberies I can keep myself (possibly falsely) calm by thinking that if someone comes up to me with a gun and asks for my property I can give them what they want and I (possibly) won’t get hurt, but if someone is trying to commit a sexual assault and has a weapon, what can you even do?

    • phl2dc

      I have the same concerns.

    • I have the same concerns too. The only answers I have are (a) never go to a second location (learned from Oprah’s show featuring Gavin de Becker, author of “The Gift of Fear”); and (b) do what you need to do to stay alive. Part B may be at odds with part A in some circumstances, but that’s about all I’ve got. The crime spike has made me consider taking refresher courses in self-defense and first aid.
      I feel like DC is turning into the Wild West.

  • This is terrible, 600 block of Park has always been shady, but like the whole area it has been more shady of late. I stopped walking my dog there months back. I feel terrible for the victims, and particularly frustrated about the assault on Park Rd. this is a block that has come up in our community meetings plenty of times. On Sunday afternoon I was happy to see two plan clothes cops walking Park and Morton taking some pictures and though to myself “hey the are listening and doing something” but as it turns out it is more of the same they were not being pro-active but reactive.

    • You’re right, 600 block of Park has gotten worse. This dude flipped a house and he couldn’t even sell it! Granted he was asking too much, but anyhow he had to rent it. The police are all over Morton/Park Morton as of late. I didn’t know there were plain clothes police as well, but many uniformed police every day. Last night they had a BBQ in Park Morton and 3-4 officers were there just keeping an eye on things.

      • Ugh. I live on this block. Female. I want to throw up reading this.

        I did see two bike cops going past Park Morton on my way home today. It’s not even much of a comfort after reading this though.

  • This just makes me so sad and so tired. I’m not even angry anymore because I don’t know what to do and it saps my faith in humanity that someone do things like this to another human. I just want to put my head down.

    • justinbc

      You shouldn’t have to know what to do. That’s what we pay officials and politicians to figure out. They’re just really bad at it, and some elements you cannot control without national legislation to assist (real, effective gun control laws).

      • gun control laws are not going to stop criminals from committing crimes

        • So, that means that in countries where they have practically zero gun crimes, and strict gun control laws, that the people are just less criminally inclined than Americans? Why aren’t criminals in the UK or Europe finding the guns they need to commit crimes as their criminal peers do here in the US?

        • Maybe not, but it’ll get guns confiscated before they end up in the wrong hands. Here’s a scenario:
          1. Gun gets manufactured with little traceability: not illegal
          2. Gun gets purchased at store w/background check: not illegal
          3. Gun gets sold on Craigslist without background check: legal in about 30 states
          4. Gun gets used in crime: illegal, and probably fatal or otherwise tragic
          (4) might be unavailable, but (3) certainly isn’t. Making (3) illegal will not stop all instances of (4), but it will likely stop one or two. Maybe even the one that affects your family.

          • by “unavailable” I meant “unavoidable”

          • Not to mention that you don’t even have to get to step #3 for a gun to “affect your family” — guns take a significant toll in the form of suicides, accidents, and domestic violence.

          • Right. More gun deaths are caused by suicide than homicide. And if you want to make the argument that those people would kill themselves some other way, don’t. Guns are a LOT more effective than any other means of suicide or homicide, because they’re basically off buttons for humans.

        • Actually yeah, they can. Look at countries that have them. Armed robbery (to say nothing of more serious violent crimes) takes more guts and effort if you’re using a knife. That said, I’m not sure gun control would work in the U.S. – at least not in the short-to-medium term. Too many guns in circulation and no good way of recovering them.

          • And no political will to do it, thanks to the immense power of the NRA. If 20+ kids dying in a mass shooting wasn’t enough to outweigh the power of the NRA and prompt some significant change, what would be?

          • justinbc

            I don’t think anything meaningful will ever be passed. But if you want to reduce crime the number one way to do it is by removing its greatest enabler.

          • Agreed, textdoc. I lost any hope for meaningful gun policy reform after Sandy Hook.

          • Textdoc is right. Sandy Hook was the practical end of the gun control movement for a long time to come. (I however think there are more parties to blame than just the NRA.)

          • Sandy Hook, definitely – once America decided it was OK with children being murdered en masse, the national conversation RE: gun control effectively ended for good.

          • I will add that I am not a gang banger and have passed stringent background checks along with having trained on the systems for the past 7 years.

        • Also, when was the last time you heard of an innocent bystander being killed by a stray knife?

  • My questions is what is being done to stop it!? We all know that synthetic weed has something to do with the crime, but I promise you that armed 10 year-olds is a completely different problem altogether. This can’t be blamed on summer heat either.

    My fear is the mayor will deploy some new visible programs that have little to no effect, instead of getting tough on crime. We can continue to tap dance around the issues, or we can attack them head on, regardless of cost, and start establishing a police force that people respect. The young people in my neighborhood don’t give a damn what the cops tell them, and won’t listen until there are punishments involved, even for petty crimes. I’m not saying we have to jail everyone who is caught with a joint, but we can’t just tell them to move on, and waste police resources on responding to the same people, and the same petty crimes over and over.

    I’d be interested to hear what Mayor Bowser has to say about the continued problem and how we are going to fix it. Anyone else feel like we are owed some sort of plan?

    • +1… there are no consequences for young offenders in the District. Judges give them slaps on the wrist and politicians support the approach.

  • The fact that kids are robbing people by gunpoint is terrifying, but a sexual assault by gunpoint at 6AM on a Sunday ON THE SAME BLOCK AS THE POLICE STATION?!?!?! What is going on?

    • Sorry, I got my blocks mixed up – ONE block from the station. Still, this basically makes me want to hide in my house and never leave.

    • Yeah, it’s disturbing that a 10 year old is doing this for a number of reasons, one of which is the fact that someone this young isn’t going to have the developed the same impulse control/understanding of consequences as someone who’s a few years older. Incredibly frightening.

  • These two children were likely screamed at, cussed at, hit and neglected from toddlerhood or even infancy. This is the long term problem!!!

  • One other note on the kids, they are likely local to the immediate area. Obvious statement, but I think with adults, a lot of the time they are coming into NW DC from MD or other neighborhoods in DC to commit a crime (so they aren’t “known” or recognized). Unless these young kids have a car, they probably rode their bike or walked from their home within a few blocks of 1400 Quincy.

    • NW has its own criminals too.

    • They’re also coming into DC, because they know they are less likely to be caught and/or prosecuted. I’ve personally chased muggers who then ran into public housing projects and then disappeared. God knows I wasn’t about to follow them.

      The DC police union site has a post on how rare any convictions are for the lunatics on ATVs.

      There’s a reason thugs won’t go to VA to do this stuff. They fear the consequences.

      • I would argue Virginia and WotP limits their getaway with choke points due to natural boundaries, so it is a bit tougher to get away.

  • Another reminder of why I’m moving to Del Ray or Old Town next year.

    • I used to live in Old Town and honestly feel safer in DC. Old Town is adorable during the day, but so incredibly dead at night. I guess I could handle it nowadays if I just took Ubers everywhere, but I feel uncomfortable walking around after dark when there’s NO ONE around.

    • Alexandria/Del Ray is not exactly Candyland. Remember the music teacher who answered a knock on her door and was shot to death last year? That was Del Ray. Old Town has a lot of public housing as well.

  • Nice parents of these kids. I’m sure they showed them how to hold the gun sideways too when they point it at someone. Maybe if these kids are arrested after they go to juvenile detetion, their parents should be given mandatory community service sentences or forced to actually watch their kids every time they leave the house for a year.

    • Thank you. When ‘family values’ is brought up in such a discussion, often the concept is dismissed or laughed at when proposed as a plausible reason for these acts. Though discourse re: gun control or better education for those at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder can be helpful, it is not useful to ignore the root of the problem, IMO.

      • Blithe

        So the “root of the problem” is “family values” rather than, say, “community values” that have supported quite a lot of noxious history in DC, and in this country. It must be nice to be so sure.

        • I’m not agreeing with every word of the previous commenters’ statements, but I think most people would say that, if you’re committing armed robbery at age 10, you might not benefit from great parenting.

          • Blithe

            While I think that most people would acknowledge that most of us are influenced by individual factors — such as introversion and curiosity, the impact of our parents and family members, the impact of our peers, and the impact of our communities — including education, to varying degrees, and access to opportunities such that what we view as pro-social behaviors are rewarded. To conclude that the only factor — i.e. “root of the problem” — is “family values”, is a pretty limited viewpoint.

          • @Blithe. I respect your opinion; you have a valid point. At the same time, I’ve known introverted people and curious people. Attended genuinely bad and good schools. Known people with crappy opportunities and people with lots of opportunities. If I had to guess out of all the kinds of people I’ve known which would become armed robbers at age 10, it would definitely be the ones who had the worst parenting.

          • Blithe

            You might be right. If I had to pick a single factor, I’d probably pick the ones with the worst peer group. In reality, I’d imagine that it probably takes multiple noxious factors to lead an individual to become an armed robber at aged 10. And I say this as someone who has been in close proximity to a few.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Unfortunately, with the astounding levels of socioeconomic that we have in our schools in DC, those are so highly confounded that distinguishing between the effects of the two is virtually impossible – the kids with the worst parenting are by and large also in the same peer groups. I have a friend who teaches at one of the more difficult schools in DCPS, and she has a class in which not one student lives with his or her biological father, many of the students are in gangs, and over a period of a few years at that school, more than one of her students was shot or stabbed.

          • Blithe

            HaileUnlikely I definitely agree that those two factors are confounded. They’re also likely to be correlated with factors such as poor nutrition, less than ideal educational instruction and facilities, substandard housing, lack of access to meaningful supervised recreational activities, and less than ideal medical care — including mental health services — among other variables. I’ve worked in schools and community settings that are probably similar to the school where your friend works. What stands out to me is that despite these considerable barriers, many kids and families struggle to do as well as they can with the limited resources that they have, and some have a startling resilience that I wish we understood better.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Agreed 100%. Just saying I don’t think we can pinpoint parenting or peer group or any one thing as the cause of a 10 year old becoming an armed robber, as most of them have about 10,000 factors going against them, few of which most here can relate to.

          • @Blithe. I respect what you’re saying. It for sure takes many factors. But IF you think it’s more peer group than family guidance, do you think parents who have the means to do so should pull their kids out of schools with the “worst” peers? My parents didn’t do that with me, and I’m okay with their choice. I also don’t plan to just funnel my child into the most privileged school I can find.

          • Blithe

            HaileUnlikely — I quite agree with you. I DON’T think we can pick any one factor. And I think if each of us were forced to pick just one, we’d probably each pick different factors — with decent arguments to support the ones we’ve each picked. I think we often underestimate the valance of peer influences — but they’re only one component of a very complex set of factors.
            Zora — my parents did what yours did. And I think that’s the answer — if what we want is a functioning society. I think what we want, ideally, is to have the overwhelming majority of kids in all schools be “good” kids — for lack of a better term. What happens when the parents who have options pull their kids out, is that they’re changing the peer balance — among other things — by pulling out “good” kids, and parents who have resources.
            While I certainly understand individual parents making choices in what they feel would be the best interests of their individual kids, I think that the best thing for communities/ society as a whole is for all kids to have access to excellent schools, with a reasonable percentage of families and kids that are doing well. That allows the culture of the school as a whole and the culture of most peer interactions to skew heavily in the direction of pro-social values, and, I’d argue, positive outcomes. It also allows resources to be focused on the relatively small number of kids who stand out as needing them. And I’d argue strongly that this diversity benefits ALL of the kids, albeit in different ways.

          • Blithe

            Sorry, that’s valence not valance (not that I have anything against window treatments….haha)

          • The problem I have with the “family values” excuse isn’t necessarily that I think it’s a bad “reason”. It’s that people always stop the conversation with “Parents should parent better and teach their children to be productive members of society” without ever asking the question “Why are these parents failing?”. If we start asking those questions, I bet the people that think it’s a systemic social inequality issue and people that think it’s family values would have a lot more in common than they think.

  • Why are we not seeing strong punishments for DC crimes? It seems like the mayor and the city would do well to make an example of some of the criminal they can catch. Insist on maximum penalties, avoid plea deals and make a public display of these prosecution in the community to announce that there will severe penalties should you commit the type of crimes that terrorize a community. I know community involvement, community policing, economic opportunity and education are the real long term solution to crime, but I believe the city needs to do something dramatic to show that violence, gun possession and terrorism will not be tolerated.

    • The DC Police Union has a petition on its site asking the city to hire more officers, which seems extremely reasonable to me. I’ve pasted the language below. Sign it and support the cops we’re asking to protect us.

      It is unacceptable to allow violent crime to spread across our city without taking action. As DC’s population continues to grow, it’s vital that our police force grow with it. Instead, City Government has cut more than 400 police officer positions — jeopardizing my safety and the safety of our officers. It’s time to support our police force; increase the authorized staffing for the Metropolitan Police Department and hire more officers.

      • I seem to recall Chief Lanier going before the city council a few months ago to tell that that we were short officers due to attrition and retirement.

      • Signed. Wish there was a separate blog post letting people know about this.

        • Ehhhh. I dunno if I trust the police union. More police sounds good, but weren’t the police that were let go let go because of civil rights concerns? Doesn’t the police union aggressively not care about those?

    • Maybe because all the research shows that harsher penalties do nothing to deter crime, and actually increase recidivism?

      • False. It’s widely accepted that harsher penalties/mandatory minimums are a contributing factor to the drop in crime we’ve seen the past couple decades. The % of that contribution is what’s up for debate.

    • +1000. And actually prosecute juveniles, instead of letting them go with a barely a slap on the wrist.

      • Thus eliminating even the slim chance they have of becoming law-abiding adults.
        People coming out of prison unable to get a job or otherwise reintegrate into society isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. The increased recidivism numbers are *encouragement* to the for-profit prison industry.

        • When they start pointing guns at law abiding citizens I stop worrying about their future beyond how long we can keep them in jail. Violent crimes and crimes with guns need to result in long sentences, period.

          • WDC – the approach you advocate implicitly enables juvenile criminals. Violent crimes should be punished because they are violent crimes- age, race, and economic background have nothing to with it. Its that simple.

        • WDC – What do you suggest instead? What study do you have that says enforcing the laws of our penal system won’t work? Most recent studies only suggest that there may be less of link between strict penalties and future crimes than has historically been used as the foundation for the penal system. Stating simply that “all the research shows that harsher penalties do nothing to deter crime” is irresponsible. There is no proven evidence from any social scientist to say that enforcing crime and stiffening punishment are completely ineffective in preventing crime. If you want to talk prison reform, talk about mandatory minimum with no judicial discretion, talk about lack of proper rehabilitation service, drug treatment and mental health care, talk about nonsensical laws that jail those incapable of paying small fines or are caught in the cycle of poverty. Don’t talk about criminals who perpetrate violence and terrorism on our streets.

  • Why aren’t the area’s businesses getting involved? If you or I complain, the folks who run this city will just get a good laugh out of it. But if Wal-mart or Target threatened to pull out, or if Giant threatened to close its store in Shaw, it would take the grins right off of their faces.

    • west_egg

      Given all they’ve been through I don’t see Giant pulling out anytime soon. They’ve been operating at that location since 1979 when Mayor Barry cut the ribbon and said, “It’s the good times for Shaw.” Oh well.
      Besides, I’m not sure closing the neighborhood grocery store is what this community needs.

    • I assume that there’s little, if any, indication that these big businesses are being adversely affected by the surrounding street crime. Isn’t the CH Target one of the busiest/most profitable in the area?

      • Much better bet would be to leverage the big developers to pressure their paid-for mayor to do something meaningful to cull the crime.

      • It’s also the only metro accessible Target nearby. However bars, restaurants, and family businesses are a different story, imo.

    • Maybe this is the solution:
      Let the businesses in the core of the city hire a separate police force.

      • No, hiring civilian mercenaries is not the answer either. This is right up there with domestic civilian drone strikes in terms of proposed solutions aimed at solving the crime problem. Right.

  • When our society has failed to uphold its obligations to so many people it is not surprising at all when some of them refuse to follow the rules.

    • What obligation exactly have we failed? We didn’t cause poor parenting and lack of values.

      • Blithe

        As a society, we’re supporting vastly unequal access to high quality public education, for starters. If you think I’m exaggerating the import of this, please refer back to the many posts of parents and prospective parents who are making life-decisions based on the quality of the schools available to their children. Oh, and if you have a moment, you might want to read the NYTimes article that points out that the correlation between higher education and financial stability for whites is a whole lot higher than for people of color. So while you may not view equal access to opportunities as an obligation, you might note that it’s a significant factor for many in making life decisions.

        • I am not white nor am I black. My family came here with absolutely nothing in their name and they couldn’t speak English. My siblings and I all got into good school and we are currently all productive members of society. If you’re implying that the process was hard, it wasn’t. You had to work hard for sure (and you got a whole lot of bonus points for being a minority)… But implying that society is so stacked against me, I have very little choices other than to commit crime is false and insulting to all other minorities that work hard and do perfectly fine in life. And if you’re not implying that and you really mean the inequality of financial stability and higher education for people of color vs. Whites, then yes, it might be true but presumably they’re also not shooting people up if they’re seeking higher education and therefore not relevant here. +PixieSticks. We aren’t responsible to teach your kid it’s wrong to point a gun at someone.

          • Ha! Non-white immigrant completing his assimilation cycle with aggressive anti-black racism.

            But seriously in all your comments you seem to be convinced you’re speaking to a particular failing individual who needs a pep-talk. This is a policy issue, regarding what people tend to do in given situations. What people should be doing in your opinion is completely irrelevant.

            Most people are mediocre, whatever their environment. Yes, it’d be great if everyone we just happen to heap a bunch of economic and social hardships upon were all coincidentally exceptional people and overcame them, but that’s not how the world works.

        • Blithe

          I’m not implying anything about you or “all other minorities”. I am, however, making the point that in non-random ways, some citizens have less access to resources, services and opportunities than others. I’m happy that you and your “siblings all got into good school”sic. I hope you have some empathy for those who have not had that opportunity.

          • I’m saying they have the opportunity. They just rather not take it. And in fact, you are making implications by your shear reference to the study unless in your study, people of color just means black people in which case carry on with your corrections of my spelling. Apparently my autocorrect isn’t as smart as you or as petty for that matter.

          • Blithe

            And I’m pointing out that all citizens don’t have equal opportunities. Why, for instance, aren’t all public schools essentially the same? Why do so many people flee the city or move to ensure that their kids have access to good schools, often in affluent neighborhoods with a built in affluent peer group? What happens to the kids who don’t have these options?
            At the risk of belaboring the point, you seem to be inferring things from my comments that I have no intention of implying.
            I’ll post a link to the study separately.

            As to your spelling, I wanted to be clear that I was quoting. I’m nerdy like that.

          • You’re saying people that have disadvantages and less opportunities have crappy lives. I’m saying no, they can make it better if they work at it enough. Happens all the time especially if you look at the asian and hispanic immigrant population. “What happens to the kids who don’t have these options?” Um… do the same thing the asians and Hispanics do-work harder? Why is it that you do not demand more of these folks but rather give them empathy? What is so inherently different about them compare to others in the same socioeconomic status that don’t choose a life of crime?

          • Blithe

            BS, Just so you have a bit of context, I’m a third generation DCNative whose college educated grandparents paid considerable taxes so that their kids and grandkids could attend legally segregated schools, live in legally segregated neighborhoods, and work very hard at the limited array of jobs that were open to them.
            What I’m saying, as clearly as I can, is that there are a lot of hard working people in America whose “rewards” are not commensurate with their efforts, and who are still dealing with barriers embedded in American society. While you are looking at various Asian and Latino/Hispanic groups, I hope you are paying equal attention to Native American and Black Americans as well. The latter two groups did not come to this country in search of better opportunities.
            When it comes to the factors that lead to a 10 year old armed robber, there are individual variables, family factors, community factors, and historical factors — as well as a few others that I probably haven’t thought of.
            – I have empathy because of my own personal and professional experiences — and my awareness of the considerable barriers that many people face from infancy on, that are embedded in generations of families impacted by discrimination, racism, poverty, and violence — and all that can go along with that.
            — As to your last question, I’m assuming that you’re referring to the 10 year old armed robber as opposed to someone involved in white collar crime. I’d say that a critical factor is a belief that one’s efforts can, indeed, lead to success — something that many kids have no experience of in their own lives. Then, beyond belief, those efforts actually have to lead to success — and, for many, that’s not the case. I also do not want to underestimate the need for kids in violent circumstances to have violent outlooks and a violent skill set — because to display anything else has the potential to be fatally vulnerable. Yet another factor is having at least one adult family member or mentor to not only model and teach pro-social skills, but to protect and support the kid until he or she can get to a point in life where these skills can lead to financial stability.
            You’ve raised some complicated questions. 🙂

          • Is racism dead? Absolutely not. But I don’t believe the level of discrimination your grandparents faced is equivalent to the now. “a lot of hard working people in America whose “rewards” are not commensurate with their efforts, and who are still dealing with barriers embedded in American society.” Don’t disagree with you but the key words are hard working. Don’t think the 10yr old is trying very hard and encountering those “barriers” because he’s really not doing anything that would put him in face of that situation. “Native Americans and Black Americans”. I’m assuming you mean they have been here and thus for whatever reason have it harder because of history, etc…., I would bet the 10yr old would have no concept of what segregation meant. “White collar crime.” If, really, the options were white collar crime or shoot someone in the face crime, for the love of god please pursue white collar crime. But even better, how about no crime at all?

          • Blithe

            I’ve worked with lots of kids in lots of schools, and some of those schools have been, officially “failing” schools, in troubled violent neighborhoods. The ten year old fifth graders knew that all of the kids in their troubled failing school looked like them. They also knew that there were Public schools a few miles away that had teachers that didn’t scream, water fountains that didn’t have yellow tape across them warning against contaminated water, heat that worked in the winter, air conditioning that worked in the summer, and enough desks and books for each kid. A key word here is “public”. Why should kids who look one way have schools with problems that are evident to a fifth grader — and kids who look another way have better options. Kids also listen — and observe, very keenly. And, for what it’s worth, I’ve known kids as young as 5 who work very hard — not just in school, but in support of their families. It takes a LOT of work, of many kinds, just for some kids to make it into school.
            Short version: yes, 10 year olds know about segregation, and they know about discrimination — even if many of them may be shaky about the history behind it. They also know their parents’ stories. And while the level of discrimination may be somewhat different, the major difference is that what used to be legally sanctioned discrimination, is now socially sanctioned. The social impact and implications are not all that different.
            I agree with you that “no crime at all” would be ideal. So I hope we can get to a point where all of our citizens have access to better options.

          • So these schools that have everything, are they full of white kids? Or better students? Presumably, if the teachers aren’t screaming, the kids are more well behaved and if they’re more well behaved they don’t go destroying the facilities so no yellow tape around water fountain. If you’re saying it sucks cause this “hard working” 5yr old can’t be in the nice school. Agreed. They should be able to. But if you’re saying because he/she can’t, we can’t help but empathize that he/she picks up a gun and go shoving in people’s faces. I just can’t go along with that. Does it take a lot of work? Yes. To be comparatively equal to whites? Also, probably yes. But to not resort to a life of crime? Totally possibly. Also, typically if they’re 5yrs old and helping the family, they’re not the ones waving the gun around cause they’re busy helping the family. Typically. So I think we may be talking about two different sets of people within a larger set.

        • Blithe

          It’s quite late — but I would like to respond to a couple of your points. This conversation started with a comment by Ryan:
          “When our society has failed to uphold its obligations to so many people it is not surprising at all when some of them refuse to follow the rules.” My comments have been in support of of the idea that society has, indeed, failed many of it’s citizens in critical ways. – I would not presume that “if the teachers aren’t screaming, the kids are more well behaved. ” It’s likely to be the opposite. People who get screamed at have little incentive or support for being calm and focused. Somehow you’ve turned my illustration of being in a school where no one could drink the water because the water was CONTAMINATED

          • Blithe

            Continued: Into kids “destroying the facilities”. This is so far from the reality that I’m not sure how to respond. What I’ve tried to do is describe some deeply embedded societal issues that might address Ryan’s initial statement. I have not suggested empathy for “someone shoving a gun in people’s faces”. I do have, however, considerable empathy for the kids — and adults — who are undervalued by society, and who are well aware of this. I’m also suggesting that addressing these inequalities will be in the best interests of all of us as a community.

          • I’m still going with pixiesticks on this one. It’s not the teacher’s job to discipline, it’s the parents. If you’re sending your kids to school and they act out, that’s on the parents. It’s a blessing we have some wonderful teachers who will take the time to discipline but not their job or responsibility. Sorry. Drawing from own experiences on the water fountains. Usually theyll put contaminated cause they got tired having to fix it cause the kids keep vandalizing it. Cause bad kids vandalize stuff. So if the lack of screaming is not bc of better teachers or kids, then the 5yr old wants to go there bc? Addressing inequality is good. But suggesting inequality and lack of community support justifies the choice to commit crimes? No. Makes it easier perhaps. But no. I am demanding better. Because you have a few cards or a lot of cards stacked against you, you have a choice and it’s not as hard as it seems to make that choice. The road after that choice is hard as hell but if you put in the effort, it will be a better life. Not as fair as you may want it but you’re not dead or killing someone or in jail. Your grandparents did it and I believe they can too. I just rather demand more than to empathize at the choices they didn’t make but could have just like anyone else in their situation.

    • Don’t know if either Blithe or BS will return to this discussion at this point, but I’ll expand on what I was saying in case they do. For a lot of people a lifetime of honesty and hard work means multiple minimum wage, or close to it, jobs and still living in poverty, a life expectancy considerably shorter than the wealthier among us, and if they are able to reach retirement age (which could go up, depending on who controls the government) they’ll have to keep working because Social Security benefits aren’t enough to live on when you haven’t been able to save. As our society is currently constructed this is going to be the inescapable reality for millions of people.
      In every society, no matter how equal or just, there are going to be some people who simply refuse to play by the rules. As the percent of people who do not perceive their society to be a just one grows there are going to be more people for whom the social contract comes under question. The growing inequality in the US has become more prominent in recent years. It is no secret that the benefits from the economy’s recovery have gone overwhelmingly, almost exclusively, to those at the top. A society that offers wealth and comfort to a few while demanding hard work and sacrifice from the many should not be surprised when some people at the bottom decide they don’t want to play a rigged game and instead turn to crime. If the number of people fed up with the system continues to grow crime could give way to insurrection.

      • Blithe

        Thanks for coming back to comment — and for setting off this discussion in the first place. I quite agree with your observations. I think that your comment:

        “A society that offers wealth and comfort to a few while demanding hard work and sacrifice from the many should not be surprised when some people at the bottom decide they don’t want to play a rigged game and instead turn to crime. ”

        should be tattooed on the forehead of every politician in America. I share your concern — and perhaps your certainty — about “insurrection”. Baltimore — where there are enormous contrasts between the “haves” and the “have-nots” — with little daily interaction between the two groups with the confounding factors of race and racism is, to my mind, a concentrated microcosm of an American crisis waiting to happen.

      • I’m sorry….”refuse to play by the rules?” You call violently robbing or physically assaulting someone, or firing a gun indiscriminately at someone across a busy street in the middle of the day “refusing to play by the rules?” I call it barbaric criminal behavior that deserves swift punishment. People who refuse to abide by the basic rules of a civilized society, and who think they are entitled to threaten and endanger the lives of whomever they choose, need to be removed from society for everyone else’s safety. Period.

        • And I think anyone who looks at CEO pay reaching 300 times that of the average worker and says its ok needs to be removed from society for everyone else’s safety. Period.

  • I’ve heard conflicting things about what happens when kids commit crimes in DC. I’ve heard both that very little happens and that they get tried as adults. Does anyone have articles/data on this?

    • Why look for actual data when anecdotes are so much more interesting?
      The party line among the listserv crowd is that criminals in DC, especially juveniles, get slapped on the wrist and let go. I’ve never seen any data to back up those claims, or to refute them for that matter.

  • Is there such a thing as an acceptable amount of crime? The aforementioned solutions (all decent ones) would take at least a decade (or worse yet, a generation) to implement. I am very sorry for the victims, I can’t imagine how it must feel and hope to never find out. However, crime happens in urban areas. Hell, crime happens everywhere.

    I do not foresee any of that changes, particularly with the gap between the haves and have not ever-widening.

  • Newbie to DC (petworth) here. I want to love being here so bad, but I feel so unsafe… Is this the usual? Sexual assault… Burglaries… Innocent bystanders being shot in a drive by? Someone please tell me I didn’t make a terrible decision moving here….

    • I moved to the area a year ago. I really like CH/ParkView and feel safe walking around. Even when I moved here, I knew that Georgia Ave was no prize, but I didn’t expect things to go downhill so fast after Mothership closed. I love Looking Glass and Colony Club, but I walk out of my way to avoid Georgia Ave. The Petworth/CH/ParkView has come so far, so many great places to eat, but it all feels like it’s backsliding fast after this sh*tty summer. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have second thoughts about buying a house here.

    • Don’t lump all of DC into one stereotype. While it’s easy to do, where you choose to live in DC is a big part of your experience. Petworth is certainly not the most gentrified and safe area of town – it hasn’t been and it isn’t today. There’s obvious perks of living in the neighborhood, but don’t hate living in DC because you’ve only lived in 1 neighborhood.

    • Hi, I live in Petworth too, and love it. After living in Bethesda and Silver Spring, Petworth is the friendliest place we’ve lived. Say hi to people on the street or sitting on their porches, and get to know your neighbors. Use common sense regarding city living – don’t walk around with your earbuds in and your nose in your cellphone; take a cab or Uber if you’re headed home late at night.
      Regarding crime, this level of crime is not typical, which is why so many people are upset. Violent crime had been going down for many years, and now we have these crazy upswings. I think it’s helpful to keep in mind that, despite all of the terrible news, the likelihood of one specific individual being a victim of crime is still very low. Welcome to the neighborhood, and I hope that you come to feel more comfortable.

    • Thanks for the response and the welcome! I hope this is just a *weird* time and I too will grow to love Petworth as many others do.

  • I know everyone is frustrated and I feel the same way but I thought I would give credit to the police where it is due. A few months ago, I dreaded walking past the northwest corner of Georgia and Rock Creek Park. There was always a rowdy group of young teens there and most of the time they were drinking alcohol, high, or selling drugs around the corner behind the zip cars. Since June or July, a couple of younger police officers on bikes have taken to hanging out there. At first, there were some tense moments but the continual police presence pushed the rowdy crowd off the corner (though I know they are now hanging out on Georgia and Lamont) and regular kids are showing up. These officers joke and pal around with them. It’s really made that corner much safer and I’m sure the officers are building connections with the nicer kids that hang out there now.

    Suggestions for how I should communicate my appreciation to DCPD?

    • You’re right in the sense that that activity just moved from one corner to another. What kind of solution is that?

      • I’d rather focus my energy on encouraging productive behavior from the police than just rant for some vague notion of a solution (it’s a complext social problem). Ultimately, they will need to use the same sort of techniques on the other corners as well to take back the area.

        • Blithe

          It’s possible that your “vague notion of a solution” is my version of very clear, very proven solutions. It’s just that the solutions are expensive, targeted towards long-term change, and possibly threaten to challenge the status quo.
          If we as a community/city/country decide that every citizen should have access to decent housing, functioning public transportation, a decent education, and realistic job opportunities, that would address many of our deeply entrenched problems. Couple that with a fair and consistent justice system and actual community policing like anon 10:00 described, and we’ve got the ingredients for positive, effective, long term change. Almost every 5 year old is curious, wants to learn, and wants to please people that matter to him or her. Almost every adolescent wants meaningful skills and job opportunities that can lead to increasing independence. Almost every adult who gets what he or she should have at 5 and in adolescence, with access to safe housing, meaningful recreation, and career options that pay reasonable salaries will eschew negative paths — if only because he or she has achieved a level of stability that is worth maintaining and protecting.

    • To communicate your appreciation to MPD, contact the lieutenant for that Police Service Area (PSA) and/or the commander for the district. (You meant the corner of Georgia and Rock Creek Church Road, right? That would be the Fourth District, under Commander Wil Manlapaz.)
      You can find the names/e-mails on MPD’s website (as well as maps of the PSAs, etc.).

  • People need to take a deep breath. If you’re getting too freaked out you should stop reading Popville for a while. Crime is getting bad and for those of us old enough to remember, there are distant echoes of the 80s and 90s that we need to watch out for. But they are just echoes, we’re not there yet and with a little effort, we can hold our city officials accountable and make sure that we don’t get there.

    Also, if you feel the need to make sanctimonious posts about this being a city and you should get used to it, you also need to take a deep breath and maybe step back from the keyboard. It’s not unreasonable to be upset by murders and sexual assaults. It’s not unreasonable to be upset by a 10 year old involved in an armed robbery. Part of DC’s problem has always been that the older residents have been too ready to accept the status quo, newer residents are not putting up with it. As someone who grew up in the area and has been living in the city for more than 20 years, I say it’s about time.

    • the general theme is hereis expecting some policy to wave a magic wand and it isn’t going to happen. There also is fear that a small uptick in crime stats are a trend–that’s something you can’t know untill time passes. Even in teh bad old days, crime came in waves, locally, and this was true in rough neighborhoods. Most of the reports that turn up here are in classic area sthat have had gang problems for many years, so no surprise. If prople move into areas without checking them out at different times of day/week (which I did in all the transitional places I’ve lived), that’s their problem. Having lived here in the 90s, I know that parts of Shaw/U St and Capitol Hill had lots of problems-shooting, burglaries even as new comers came in and renovated properties. Some blocks were better than others and this is true in inner cities everywhere.

      Draconian measures didn’t work. hrining more cops (don en mass in the 80s) didn’t work—not surpriing, the candidate pool often is hsallow (I used to screen candidates). Bowser did her points because that’s what yors do–she’s hack and if half the people who complain about here here voted, we wouldn’t have her as mayor (yes, I voted and not for her). Community policing is complicated, so is drug enforcement. It’s worse when people in teh community don’t participate and beyond complaining here or doing boneheaded things like going on a roofdeck after hearing gunfire (and actual poster last week), I see no recognition that even the comfortable middle class that is fearful won’t lift a finger. I lived in a transitional neighborhood in Atlanta that had a crackhouse and people liked to compalin and make wishes for the police but they werenn’t willing to do simple things—like rport code violations (the house was a mess), child protective complaints (there was obvious abuse) or creatively disrupt business (throw a block party, etc.). If you’re unwilling to play a role than pelease move to Potomac and help bring real estate prices down so that people who want to be here can afford it.

  • We definitely need to hold our elected officials accountable. Yes, Mendleson keeps getting reelcted and he has been the softest on juvenile crime of any Councilmember. The biggest concern of council is to make sure tha convicted felons can get hired for jobs. NOT getting criminals off the street. Ask any police officer and they will tell you arresting juveniles is a joke. Bowser won’t solve this because she has no idea what to do or to hire. Her appointments so far to almost all Agencies have been questionable at best and downright detrrimental at worst. I have lived here 20 years and this is the first time I think crime may the the thing to drive me out of the City. it definitely feels like the late 90s to me. I still don’t understand the folks who voted for Bowser in the first place.

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