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“never underestimate your neighbors, and scream as loud as you can if ever in this situation”

by Prince Of Petworth May 13, 2016 at 9:35 am 40 Comments


Thanks to all who wrote in last night:

“Dear PoPville,

Just wanted to pass along a pretty incredible story from tonight — at about 10:20 tonight we heard screams coming from the street (Randolph Pl) and within seconds a hoard of neighbors realized what was happening and came out of their houses to chase down and detain the thief until the police arrived. I can’t speak to whether it was at gunpoint or if there was also an assault, but the screams were absolutely glass shattering. Moral of this story: never underestimate your neighbors, and scream as loud as you can if ever in this situation.

Props to all of the neighbors who ran out in defense of someone they didn’t know! Makes me feel great about my neighborhood!”

From MPD:

“On May 12, 2016, at approximately 10:30PM, a Robbery occurred at 1st and Randolph Pl., NW Several citizens observed the victim being robbed. The citizens quickly took action and apprehended the suspect. As the citizens continued to hold the suspects they called 911. Units from the Fifth District responded and arrested the suspect.

This is an outstanding job by the citizens of the Fifth District and all should be commended for a job well done.

  • kbloomingdale

    What a scumbag. Good job, MPD & neighbors.

  • Truxton Thomas

    Way to go, neighbors! Mighty neighborly of you.

  • Boom

    Great outcome in this situation but I wouldn’t suggest “scream as loud as you can if ever in this situation”. Alot of different variables effect the outcome of each situation.

    • textdoc

      Why wouldn’t it be appropriate to scream loudly? I can see how it might be a better idea to hand over your wallet than to resist and scream while resisting, but if there’s any type of assault involved, why not scream?

      • DupontDC

        Because you don’t know if your assaulter has a gun. As boom stated, there are a lot of different variables for each situation. What if someone with a gun decides they don’t need to use it initially for whatever reason, but if things get confrontational or public attention is drawn, they may be inclined to use it.

      • Boom

        Bc it could result in you getting physically injured or killed? Again, every situation is different. In some cases you might be better off running away, in some cases you’re better off quietly handing over your items, in some cases (like this one) you may better off screaming.

        • textdoc

          When would you be better off running away?
          I realize people have to make split-second decisions in the (adrenaline-filled) moment, and to do what feels right at the time… but in what kind of situation would you be better off running away? If you’re a fast runner, you’re sure the robber has no weapon, and you don’t think he/she can outrun you?

          • anonymous

            Right after you cold clock the perp. But still- Not everyone should attempt to do that. Again- it all depends on situation.

          • Tiger

            A guy pulled a pistol passing me in columbia heights, but dropped it on the sidewalk. We both looked at it, and each other, and I just took off. In hindsight, it seemed to me that he was more interested in cutting his losses and getting away than aggressively coming after me. I was also able to put some cars between us and some distance before he could pick up the gun.
            I called the police from a block or two away, but not much they could do at that point.

          • Boom

            I think you just answered your own question…

          • 20024

            The one thing I’ve read consistently is that you’re always, ALWAYS supposed to try to run if someone is trying to force you to go to a new location. Things aren’t likely to go well after that.

          • HaileUnlikely

            I’d just add to make it an honest, bs-free assessment of whether you are “a fast runner” and think you can outrun the guy. I’d practically be willing to bet my house that I could run a mile faster than anybody who has ever tried to rob me, but that’s irrelevant, and I would not bet sh!t that I could run 100 feet faster than them, and in this situation, that’s what counts.

    • HaileUnlikely

      Yeah, I’m not particularly comfortable with the recommendation to scream “if ever in this situation” when at the same time, the OP admittedly does not know what the situation even was. Last time I was robbed at gunpoint, it was by three young teenagers. I was pretty sure that they had no intention of shooting me on purpose, but they were clearly inexperienced and nervous, and my worst fear is that they might panic and shoot me by accident, so I did not scream, and I got home safely, so I’m confident in saying that in that situation (nervous kids with gun, not actively hurting me), screaming would have at best not changed the outcome and possibly would have made it a whole lot worse.

    • Anon

      Yes, I saw this guy on a Nat Geo documentary that steals iphones for a living. He said (paraphrased): ‘It’s up to you, what are you going to do in that moment, are you going to lose your life over a phone.’ He was willing to take the life of the person for an iphone, no question.

      • Anon

        Yea, that guy totally sounds credible.

    • textdoc

      DupontDC and HaileUnlikely — OK, fair enough.
      FWIW… I thought the conventional wisdom was that if you’re approached by someone who demands your wallet/purse/whatever, you hand it over without resistance. I’ve been surprised by the number of PoPville posters who (at least in other posts) recommend resisting.

      • ddandbroadway

        you’re right, that’s the move. anyone who says that hasn’t had the barrel of a gun pressed against them. don’t take advice from the comment section warriors

        for the record, I didn’t have that experience in DC

  • DCReggae

    So awesome!

  • Anon H St

    Great job neighbors!

  • mellodcd

    Just bought a house a couple blocks away… Glad to see the neighbors helping each other out!

    • madhatternalice

      Welcome to the neighborhood!

  • Leslie

    That’s awesome! I would say screaming depends on the situation, but if someone ever tries to actually take you somewhere, scream your head off. I’ve heard that statistically, you’re better off getting shot on the spot instead of taken.

    • textdoc

      Yep — also what I’ve heard (“if someone ever tries to actually take you somewhere, scream your head off”).

      • FridayGirl

        Yes, I believe this advice stands true even if someone is just trying to force you into an alley, etc. It doesn’t need to be a far distance to know things won’t end well if you move out of the area of the street/sidewalk.

        • mona demarkov

          Great book called “The Gift of Fear” that stresses over and over again. Never, ever, ever go to the secondary place they are trying to take you. Not a car, not around the corner, not in an apartment….nothing.

          • textdoc

            +1. Carolyn Hax frequently recommends this book.
            Its central point is to trust your gut feeling and not allow your desire to be “nice,” “polite,” etc. to overrule that gut feeling.

          • anonymouse_dianne

            When I lived at 21st & N one of our tenants was raped when she “allowed” a man to help her with her groceries even though she said “No”. This is one of the central point of The Gift of Fear. If you say no, and they insist, get the F out of there.

  • Brookland mom

    The scream as loud as you can logic still holds true for attempted rape. I always learned to yell “fire” instead of anything else, as people are more likely to come see what’s happening

    • anon

      You don’ t always know what they are intending – robbery or rape. In any case, your instincts often decide what you do in response, not your conscious, thinking brain. A friend of mine was grabbed by a man who said “don’t scream” and she immediately did scream very loudly, enough to get the neighbors out (in another city) – he stabbed her seven times before running away, narrowly missing every single one of her major organs – so she was OK after surgery. It all happened so fast, she had no idea what his intent was.

  • Hill Denizen

    YASSSS! This is just what I needed to hear today. Take back the streets!

  • neighbor

    Randolph place neighbors are AWESOME!

  • V

    Hells yeah Randolph Pl! Way to look out. #proudbloomingdalean

  • Chris

    I once was mugged and yelled RAPE ( multiple times) at the top of my lung. Within1 minute the police were overhead in a helicopter shining lights down at the perpetrators. They ran off like scared rabbits. I had been stabbed twice BUT I lived to tell this story….so I am in the “camp” of yell your head off as loud and often as you can when faced with imminent personal danger. It was the neighbors who called the police because of – well a guy yelling rape is not heard too often. I had remembered the thing about yelling fire but – at the time – thought the “rape”yell would draw more attention.

  • Anon

    Is there a way you can train yourself to yell loudly? I have such a soft voice that I don’t think anyone would hear me if I yelled.

    • kittycatbob

      I wouldn’t underestimate the volume of your voice once adrenaline kicked in and you were fighting for your life. I bet you’d scream plenty loud!

    • SE Girl

      In a situation where you are being threatened, your loud voice will definitely appear…i was a victim of an attempted robbery a couple years ago, my speaking voice is quite soft and monotone but damn if I didn’t holler loud enough for all of my neighbors and my family inside of my house to hear me and run outside…which ran off the jerk trying to rob me…

      • Anon

        Ok, I’ll have to take your word for it! When I did drama club in middle school I always got assigned to the non-speaking roles because my voice wouldn’t carry no matter how hard I belted out the lines. :(

      • This–I was mugged at 15th and S maybe four years ago, and my reaction was to scream bloody murder and take off running after the guy–which got a bunch of people walking on 15th street to call 911.

        I had no clue I had something like that in me until put in the situation–fight or flight, my reaction was FIGHT!

  • mona demarkov

    that’s those great bloomingdale neighbors. Love that neighborhood

  • Tyler

    I live 2 blocks away, was inside watching TV and could hear her. Immediately called police. Great set of pipes. Better deterrent.


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