I’ve been following the discussions on the 1st District MPD listserv very closely and I’m horrified. It is very upsetting to read about robberies and shootings but there is something all-together horrifying to read about unprovoked attacks. One resident writes:
“Around 7pm tonight [Monday], I walked by a group of police interviewing a single white woman who was attacked in front of Mangialardos. I asked the police if they had any descriptions of the suspects as I would be out walking my dog for another 30 minutes or so and would keep an eye out. They said they were not sure of any descriptions, however, I overheard the young woman sitting in the front of the police cruiser say she was just walking along and somebody came up and attacked her for no reason.
Two days in a row on the same block around.”
Ed. Note: Many commenters on PoP referenced an earlier beating on Sunday night:
“The attack was at 13th and Penn. SE, 4 guys attacked a girl carrying groceries and knocked some of her teeth out. Didn’t rob her or anything, just attacked and ran.”
MPD David Kamperin responds to the first resident above:
“These two random attacks are disturbing and this type of violence should shock the conscious within this safe community. Before this second assault we moved some members in the area- officers were within a few blocks when this occurred. Additionally uniform and tactical officers will continue to patrol to prevent further attacks as our detectives investigate these. We have had some valuable information from witnesses and hopefully we will be able to identify the assailants shortly.”
Continues after the jump (including a response from Chief Lanier).
Another resident responds:
“I really do appreciate all that the police are trying to do to address this situation, but I have to express some frustration with several things – as I have noted before on this site, I was attacked on the exact same block over a year and half ago (April 2009), on a Sunday afternoon while walking alone to Harris Teeter, by two teenage males who also did not take anything. These are not “random” attacks – they have been ongoing for quite some time. And you can tell me again and again that I don’t know exactly where the two teenage males that attacked me happen to live, but I saw with my own eyes that they came out of Potomac Gardens and they ran back into Potomac Gardens after beating me up. If they don’t live there, then they hang out there.
It is simply inconceivable that person after person after person can keep getting attacked on the same block on one of the busiest streets of the nation’s capital, and yet everyone seems powerless to stop it.”
A Lieutenant Christopher Micciche attempts to explain the situation:
“Just as crime is not static, our resources are not static, nor are they infinite. As problems and patterns emerge, we allocate the appropriate resources – in addition to our traditional PSA patrol resources- to the troubled area. While our goal is to use information and past trends for our traditional deployments of personnel to stay out in front of any potential problems, that is not always effective, so we adapt quickly.
As one may imagine, we make a good number of arrests for robbery. Those cases play out in court. The problem subsides in a given area, and a new problem arises in another area, which then must be addressed.
I am not aware of any situation in which resources were promised, but not delivered. Additionally, there is a near constant law enforcement presence inside of Potomac Gardens, both MPD and DCHA.
We have enhanced our area presence effective yesterday, but even with officers within the same city block, these particular criminals attempted a robbery. The investigations into these crimes are continuing aggressively.”
It is easy to see the frustration from both the residents and MPD. Finally Chief Lanier responds:
“I know there is currently a lot of concern within the community surrounding the recent violence on Pennsylvania Avenue. Rest assured, stopping this violence is a top priority for MPD. We cannot tolerate such acts!! We are working this from many angles. First, we are increasing our footprint in the area with both uniformed and non-uniformed officers. Secondly, we are coordinating closely with the DC Housing Police and they have committed to paying closer attention to the area immediately surrounding Potomac Gardens.
Towards the longer term, we are collaborating with the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and other government agencies to ensure we hold all parties that are contributing to these crimes accountable for their actions. If our suspects are receiving government assistance, we will leverage that. There are strict laws, specific to public housing, that promote awarding housing to “responsible individuals” who do not pose a threat to the community.
Bottom line, we will send a strong message that we will not tolerate an environment of fear and will work with our sister agencies to ensure that households with members contributing to this violence are put on notice.”
I think we can all agree this a horrifying situation. And to me, the fact that it seems to be a pure and simple beating with no other motives, makes it all the more upsetting. It is encouraging to see MPD leadership engaged but until the violence abates, I wish the residents much strength and safety.