“PSA for the Shaw neighborhood about break-ins”

Photo by PoPville flickr user nevermindtheend

“Dear PoPville,

Can you post a PSA for the Shaw neighborhood about break-ins? Our basement apt (10th & O NW) had the door kicked in yesterday and the police that responded said there was a similar break in on Kingman Pl only a few blocks away yesterday, too. it was probably because we had an amazon package delivered. The guy(s) may have been following the delivery guy, went to investigate the package, which usually gets left under the steps in front of the basement apt door, and decided the door looked kick-in-able. They also tried to get in upstairs (cut the screen on our security gate) but fortunately we don’t have a flip lock on our security gate and they gave up.

We thought the door was secure, but we were obviously wrong and we’re replacing it and getting a security gate installed as an extra precaution. Sigh.

also, let me know if you see a guy trying to unload 200 amazon brand batteries…”

28 Comment

  • I live just around the corner on 10th St. and was also burglarized on Monday – electronics and jewelry. Thinking the individual(s) scaled a 8-foot wall and found the hidden (not well enough apparently) keys on my porch. Upgraded my locks, purchased a motion-sensing surveillance camera, and getting an alarm service installed next week. Be vigilant neighbors!!

  • Ashy Oldlady

    You can put in a Whole Foods, but you’ll never take the Shaw out of Shaw.

    • Besides the fact the Whole Foods is not in Shaw 😉

        • Still not Shaw.

        • It is actually NOT in Shaw, though. It is actually in Columbia Heights but Columbia Heights is far less appealing than Shaw so developers continue to market their developments as being in Shaw. Columbia Heights has a lengthy history in DC and for a long time, there was little development that crossed over U Street into Columbia Heights. I don’t think “Anonymous” or “Truxton Thomas” were being snide — but these new developments are actually NOT in Shaw — everyone just continues to give in to the developers marketing campaigns and says they are in Shaw.

          • Ashy Oldlady

            I don’t know, anybody who is unaware of the longtime negative connotations attached to the Shaw neighborhood name must have a very short memory.

          • Agreed @Philippe — completely agree. But Shaw is closer to Logan Circle so I suppose they find it more appealing for that reason — not to mention that there has been so much change in Shaw because of large scale developments — they just feed off of each other. But I completely agree that Shaw really is no better than Columbia Heights. I was simply pointing out that these developments are actually IN Columbia Heights!

          • I think technically most (or all?) of Logan Circle is in Shaw. 🙂
            Not sure I agree with the contention that “Columbia Heights is far less appealing than Shaw.” I think the developers are calling this Shaw partly because it’s near one of Shaw’s more active retail areas (9th and U), whereas Columbia Heights’ more active retail areas are a good bit farther north.

          • As a resident of northern Park View, I kind of relate to the frustration when developers (or others) misidentify a store/restaurant/whatever as being in a neighborhood that’s _nearby_ rather than in the one it’s actually in. However, Columbia Heights and Shaw are both very much on people’s radar as neighborhood designations, whereas Park View isn’t. 🙂

  • I live in Bloomingdale/Shaw and we had the upstairs “house” part of my place robbed about a month and a half ago and then my basement apt robbed about 3 weeks ago. I dealt with both robberies because my landlords were out of town and I was actually home when it happened in the middle of a Saturday.

    Both times the cops gave me little solace that they can do much with the kick in door grab and dash (my alarm even went off but it just made them go quicker apparently, still grabbing my fairly large tv, jewelry and laptop). They basically told me to get cameras, and that they wouldn’t be a deterrent, but maybe they would catch the people, big maybe. They also said that they have cars “looking for these types of break-ins” patrolling, but didn’t sound like it’s been too effective. They noted that there have been a lot in the area as of late, hence the patrol. My friend who lives about 5 blocks from me on the Eckington side was robbed on Sunday. In 13+ years in DC I’ve never seen so many robberies around one place in such a short amount of time without seemingly much action (please prove me wrong).

    • justinbc

      This is not just a DC thing, almost all home burglaries go unsolved. Police forces don’t have the manpower to handle the amount, and unless you have some actual evidence (like camera footage) it’s nearly impossible to even know where to start with respect to a suspect. Alarm systems do make a difference as a deterrent, just think of how much more would have been stolen had you not had one. Some more really informative stats on home invasions:

  • this takes me back to a conversation I had with my dad. I was saying something like “people have alarms, pets, cameras….and break ins are still happening. you cant really scare criminals away anymore….”

    the topic was brought up because i wanted to invest in getting bars on our windows. he just shook his head and said “you dont need bars. you have an alarm….”

    oh dad…

    • Bars on doors and windows esp for basement units. The only house on my block without them is the only one that was broken into.

      • While bars won’t necessarily stop a determined thief, they’ll certainly serve as a deterrent as Spock mentioned above.

        • HaileUnlikely

          Yeah. If somebody is really on a mission to gain entry to your home specifically, they’ll probably find a way, whether you have bars or not. If somebody is just looking for an easy target to try to burglarize, they’ll probably pick a door or window that doesn’t have bars.
          Also – if you have bars, they should be installed with one-way security screws or other screws that require a weird bit that most people don’t just carry around. When I bought my house, all of the first-floor windows had bars, and they were all mounted with standard Philips-head screws. In replacing those screws with better ones, it took me a grand total of about 30 seconds with an ordinary screwdriver to take off all of the screws and remove the bars.

      • This – you don’t need to make your house a fortress, and a determined criminal will find a way to get in even if you do. What you want is to make your house extremely unappealing relative to your neighbors. And make sure nothing is visible, ever, from the street – there’s a newly renovated house on my block with a large expensive television clearly visible in the living room and a laptop sitting on the desk in the front window. Crazy. I guess it’s good for me because that’s super appealing to a criminal relative to my place with frosted glass on the lower panes of all windows. No one in DC in any neighborhood should have basement windows without bars welded to them, or a back/basement door that’s not reinforced or doubled-up with security bars, or a visible security camera pointing at the front door.

    • justinbc

      Someone who wants to get in will get in, it’s about making it as difficult as possible for them so that they decide another house is an easier target.

  • This is probably a stupid question…but what would qualify as a non-kick-in-able door? We have bars on some windows and all of our doors but still.

    • HD/Lowes sells door reinforcements that make it more difficult. They probably sell whole doors as well, but look into getting the reinforcements if you want to avoid replacing the entire door ($$).

    • HaileUnlikely

      A properly-mounted steel or iron security door that opens outwards isn’t going to get kicked in. It could be removed with powertools (or even ordinary hand-tools if mounted with ordinary screws – see other comment above), and a lighter-weight steel one might be vulnerable to a serious crowbar, but virtually nobody would be able to kick it in.
      As far as the entry door itself, an armored strike box for the deadbolt (like this: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Prime-Line-Brass-Armored-Security-Strike-Plate-U-9539/100140515) will make it very difficult to kick the door in, provided that the door itself does not break and that the hinges don’t fail.
      The hinges should be screwed in with screws that are at least 3 inches long, which will go far into the studs. Most doors are attached with puny little screws that don’t even reach the studs. If that is the case with yours, replacing the screws with longer, thicker ones will make it much less likely that the hinges will fail. Products like “Door Armor” will make it even stronger, but the armored strike box and the 3-inch screws are an astronomical improvement over what you’ll find on most houses, and I don’t think the Door Armor adds a whole lot on top of that.
      As far as the door itself is concerned – a steel door or a slab wood door will probably hold up. If you have a wooden door that consists of multiple panels, the door itself might break, even if the deadbolt, hinges, and door frame all hold up. Try pressing on the bottom corner of the door (on the deadbolt side, not the hinge side) with your foot. Don’t actually kick, but lean into it a bit. If the door bends far enough for a small dog to enter (I’m being facetious but you get the idea), all of the above won’t help, as the door itself is too weak and will break if somebody gives it a good hard kick in the right place.

    • justinbc

      Also if you’re shopping look for one with a mortise lock.

  • Two hundred Amazon brand batteries?!?!?! haha

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