Parking Problems in Logan Circle and Union Market

parking pain

“Dear PoPville,

I have lived in Logan Circle at Vermont and N st NW for 6 years and over the past 2 months we have had a string of car break-ins within the garage of the condo unit. The person responsible for this matter breaks the driver side windows and steals anything of value inside. This has happened three times to over 30 cars in our garage over the past few weeks. The police have offered little help and have not even finger printed the cars broken into. The building has reconfigured the fobs for the doorway entrance, but the break ins continue. We believe this is an inside job as the offender knows where all the cameras are in order to move them so he / she does not appear on camera for long. Just a PSA of what is happening in our area so that others do not become victims as well.”

and from Union Market over the weekend:

“Wanted to give you a heads up about a pretty crappy situation at Union market today. My car was broken into at 11:30am during the brunch rush while security was on duty “monitoring” the parking lot. Just want everyone to be aware that the main parking lot has no cameras and is prime territory for break ins, even during the busiest time. Union market had 3 parking lot security guards on duty and none of them seemed to see it.”

14 Comment

  • Sorry, but MPD is completely useless wrt thefts. That’s why thefts in DC are rising faster than any other major city in the country. Over 50% since CHief Lanier took office. Thefts have surpassed Baltimore.

    Tell the Mayor and Chief Lanier to take thefts more seriously or find a new police chief who will.

    • We don’t take finger prints or photos for Theft From Autos for a few reasons.

      The first is that there’s hundreds of fingerprints inside and outside your car. We would also need your prints and those of people you normally have in your car as “elimination prints”

      Second, crime scene technicians are limited resources with 1 per district per tour, maybe two if we’re lucky. This means that crimes needing their services are prioritized. While I understand your anger at losing your valuables, I’m sure you understand that thefts from autos are at the bottom of the list. Below stolen cars, break-ins to homes/residences, and crimes to people.

      The best way to catch these folks is for cops and others to look for people who are casing cars. Generally, anyone looking inside a car is suspicious. When was the last time you looked inside your own car?

  • This has happened to a couple other buildings in the area. OP’s building is the only one with repeated break-ins. Cameras did capture their movements in my building.

  • I live in this building, it is indeed scary that this has happened multiple times over the last couple months. We have a back parking lot and an underground garage where the 3 separate thefts have occurred. Surprisingly none of the cars in the back parking lot have been effected, only those in the underground ‘secure’ garage. My guess is that the fact that the car alarms are less audible from inside the garage may be why they are targeted?

  • The repeated break-in issue is interesting. Have you contacted the MPD Commander and asked for more aggressive investigation? Over 30 cars in a few weeks is pretty incredible. Is there a way to put in hidden cameras that only a few trusted people know about?

    • I was going to recommend contacting the MPD commander for your district, since it sounds like the officers who’ve been responding so far aren’t taking the issue as seriously as they should.
      .
      If the break-ins are continuing… have people in your building been made aware that they shouldn’t be leaving anything of value (or anything that looks like it could _contain_ something of value — backpack, gym bag, etc.) visible in their cars, at least until they can catch this thief?
      .
      Could it be someone’s dogwalker or cleaner who’s either doing the thieving, or letting in someone who is? Seems like an occasion where it would be useful to have a list of who has fobs for the building entrance.

      • Yes, everyone’s been schooled — repeatedly — about leaving anything, of value or not, in their cars. Also, all old fobs were confiscated and replaced with new ones tagged to the resident. Yet a 3rd break-in occurred after that.
        .
        MPD doesn’t have much to offer (except the warning about leaving valuables in cars) and there doesn’t seem to be much impetus behind implementing the security ideas that were developed after the 2nd break-in.

        • On “there doesn’t seem to be much impetus behind implementing the security ideas that were developed after the 2nd break-in”… who would need to implement the security ideas? The condo association?
          .
          Do all units have parking spaces? (Is it a situation where the majority of residents don’t have parking spaces and thus don’t want to fund better security for the garage?)
          .
          The situation sounds frustrating; hope you see some kind of resolution soon.

  • This happened at my building on the Hill a few years ago. The fact the garage is out of public eye made it easier of the thief, no one to bother them while breaking into cars. You need to check to see if people are coming in through garage door when people drive in an out. That was one way people got in our garage. They would wait until someone left and then run in. You can change the length the gate is open. Also, check back entrances and fire doors. The magnetic locks we had were a joke, a strongish person can pull them open. We had to have all the door reinforced with steal and bars.

    Lastly, several people just started leaving their windows rolled down! That way they wouldn’t break the glass. The person that was doing it is likely an addict looking for money and stuff to sell. Unlikely they have the ability to hotwire the car and get it out of a locked garage.

  • i’m surprised you’ve had 30 car break-ins and this isn’t sufficient to galvanize the condo association into action. Sounds like at least one deeper problem here is that you need to fire your condo board and elect one that cares.

  • Yes, MPD, but don’t you notice that some of these fingerprints occur over & over in different break-ins?

    • The fingerprint hit rate is incredibly low. I think that I’ve actually had a handful of hits over the course of hundreds of cases I’ve worked as a detective.

      The bottom line is that these crimes get solved with camera footage and officers who know the suspects. The crimes get prevented by real physical security. This means cameras in garages, and high-quality cameras in the main entrances and exits (especially fire exits where these guys usually leave out of) to capture faces as people come in. Doors also need to be reinforced and alarmed if propped. Stairwells and elevators need FOBs and any access to the garage via the lobby needs to be FOB’d. Bike cages need to be actual steel bar cages and not just chain link fence that can be cut with bolt cutters. The more barriers to entry and cameras will cut down on thefts and help MPD solve the thefts.

  • I have noticed a lot of broken glass on the curbs lately aroung the Logan Circle neighborhood. Unfortunately if the vehicle owner doesnt call the police then there is no record of any trend in a neighborhood.

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