“They stay on the front steps and porch drinking, doing drugs and having sex in public.”

by Prince Of Petworth April 28, 2017 at 12:45 pm 36 Comments

georgia ave
Photo by PoPville flickr user Rich Renomeron

“Dear PoPville,

There is a a growing problem on Georgia Avenue that authorities have not taken action. There is a group of men that are loitering outside what seems an abandoned home in the 5800 block Georgia Avenue NW on a 24 hour basis.

They stay in the front steps and porch drinking, doing drugs and having sex in public. Since it’s not a lit area, the group has grown from a couple to individuals to a sometimes crowd. Not only are they littering and damaging a neighborhood that is looking to improve, but they actively harass the public that walks by or parks on the street as patrons of the few business on the block. In some instances even having drunken individuals laying passed out on the sidewalk, hanging personal clothing garments on the parking meters and signs and even threatening local neighbors.

In addition, it is said that they may have been involved in the house fire of a foreclosed property on the other side of the block.

When the authorities have been called they have not been of help and at best have told neighbors that they can’t do anything unless the owner of the building files a complaint. From the general knowledge, the property is owned by a corporation with several partners that have abandoned several properties on the block due to difference in opinion. Please help us.”

  • Maiden of Mount Pleasant

    Sounds awful. I once lived in a duplex rowhouse in Columbia Heights and the owner of the adjoining property was absent and at odds with the owner of my building. My property was impeccably maintained by my landlord, but the adjoining property was overrun with mice who burrowed into my building and once had squatters inside who relieved themselves in a pipe that drained onto my property and stunk up our stairwell. Hopefully this post will shame someone into doing their job.

    • Maiden of Mount Pleasant

      I share my experience because it seems enforcement of loitering/squatting/vacant property violations in DC is fraught with apathy and incompetence.

  • 4thGenDC

    Growing problem? Where I’m from, this is called “Tuesday”

    • tacopuss

      sounds like you’re from a really shitty place. Glad you got out.

  • Reed_Walter

    I’m trying to picture where this is and there are very few houses in that block. What is it adjacent to?

    • jim_ed

      It has to be one of those small rowhouse retail stores. I’d bet my mortgage its the one that shares an alley with Graphic Box Tattoos. It’s been abandoned for a while now and the porch is covered in trash, a mishmash of blankets, and empty liquor bottles. I wanna say it was an islamic travel agency years ago?

      • Brightwood Rez

        What’s crazy to me is the police station is like a block and a half away. You’d think the police would see this behavior on the regular if it was happening that frequently. That’s a pretty high traffic area with Missouri crossing right there.

        I pray every day when Walter Reed is far along in its redevelopment that the stretch of Georgia between Petworth and there will “take off,” but I’ll probably be long buried before that happens.

  • Hill Denizen

    The area sounds pretty “lit” to me…..sorry, couldn’t resist.

    • northeazy


  • Hill Denizen

    Is there anyway you can film the harassment/threats or just the generally illegal behavior? I think that would be harder for law enforcement to ignore. Also, any way to go after the company that owns the building?

  • KenyonDweller

    Get your counsel member involved, and keep making noise. That’s the only way anything gets done in this town.

    • alex

      +1 Get your Councilmember to loop in the Nuisance Abatement Unit at the OAG too. They can help put pressure on absentee landlords to act (through the threat of a city suit) and help get barring notices service to the loiterers. It takes a while, but in my experience it has been useful in getting owners who are not in DC/don’t care about what is happening at their property to actually respond/act.

      • jonah

        This is Councilmember Todd’s Ward. I would reach out to Jackson Carnes on his staff. He is extremely responsive.

        • I tagged him on the PoPville Facebook page post.

        • madmonk28

          The only way to get Brandon Todd to do anything is for you to generate bad press for him. See if you can get a local news channel to cover the problem. Todd does his job only as a last resort.

  • stacksp

    My cousin owns/ operates that little lot right there, Bobs Motors. Not sure what house they are referrring to in that block. Everything is a business of some sort. The print place and the neighboring store are in row home sort of dwellings but they are not residential.

    • Reed_Walter

      It looks like there are two houses in between the hair salon and the tattoo (Graphix Box) place. As far as I can tell, these are the only two houses on this block. Maybe that’s part of the issue — no residential neighbors to complain, but then that makes me wonder where the OP lives.

  • anon

    Is this at the corner of Missouri and Georgia?

  • Kevin

    “In addition, it is said that they may have been involved in the house fire of a foreclosed property on the other side of the block.”

    Citation needed.

    I’m not sure I believe the OP’s “we’ve called the police” comment. If they are doing illegal things outside (drugs, sex), then that has nothing to do with the building owner. Those are (public) crimes in and of themselves.

    Three pieces of advice:

    -Get your ANC involved.
    -Call MPD every single time. MPD constantly tells us that they need to hear from the community. Don’t dripe about this on PoP: every time you see an illegal action happening, call 911. Either the perps will get caught, or they’ll get sick of all the MPD visits and move the party elsewhere.
    -If the home is abandoned, DCRA might also be able to help.

    • alex

      Sadly, I believe the OP called and that it didn’t accomplished much. I had a similar issue and ended up calling the police on an almost daily basis about similar activity to no avail. Even when the police did show up, at best there was an arrest (with an immediate release & return, sometimes the same day) or the illegal activity died down for a few hours. The ability of the police to respond to these sorts of issues got even worse after the VICE squads were disbanded a couple of years ago.

      It took tracking down the absentee landlord and threatening a nuisance suit, plus reporting housing voucher violations to the government before anything happened.

    • anonymous

      You’re not sure you believe that the OP called the police, and the police did nothing about open and illlegal drug use? Um…call me a cynic, but this doesn’t stretch the bounds of possibility one inch for me.
      I echo speaking with you CM. This sounds like a total mess- good luck. And yes, this city tolerates a lot of nonsense, so police inaction and city official inaction do not surprise me a bit. For some, this sort of status quo is both acceptable and normal.

      • textdoc


    • jonah

      The ANC Commissioner is Charlotte Nugent in 4C01 and would be good to loop in ([email protected]) but add the CM’s office as well.

  • Anonamom

    I used to live near here and walk this stretch all the time with no issue. There were some people that would hang out in the park across the street, but they mostly kept their “activities” out of view. There’s a fire station on this block, and 4th D is a block and a half away so there are always cops up and down this stretch. Does OP have the wrong block maybe?Or maybe I do! lol

  • northeazy

    “Since it’s not a lit area, the group has grown from a couple to individuals to a sometimes crowd.” Oh I disagree. From the sounds of it, and depending on what you’re into, this sounds quite “lit” to me.

  • ANON

    I know the property OP is talking about, they share the alley with the tattoo shop. I haven’t seen them out there a lot, but as the weather has warmed (and that one house fire) it seems like they are out there more often.

    You may consider asking the guys at the tattoo parlor if they can help out. The shop owner is a really really nice guy, he owns Simple Restaurant on the block and the Tattoo shop, i bet if you ask him he is well aware of the problem, and would likely be a good ally. His name is Will, he drives the black jeep that you can often find parked in that spot next to the problem property.

  • prince-of-parkview

    woah there’s a block worse than the 600 block of newton pl NW?

    • Formerly Keefer

      So true, when I lived on Keefer I used to avoid that block of Newton like the plague. I just never felt safe, the way the street is layer out with the kink in the block between Georgia and Warder means there is no clear line of site through, walking the dog I would always go up one more short block to Otis on a loop. I don’t think the geometry of the street there could be easily fixed, but I am sure that that little kink that keeps things out of sight is a lot of the reason for way that block has remained trouble in a neighborhood that has otherwise come a long way

  • jonah

    The challenge for MPD here is if they can only observe drinking and public drunkenness, while it may be an offense, they can’t arrest their way out of health services issues. Each arrest takes that officer off the street for paperwork, transportation, and anything else related to the case. We know that they likely will be released and not get any treatment or support services, if alcoholism and dependency is the underlying issue. This is the issue along 14th Street and Randolph areas. Officers there do handout help hotline information, shelter and clinic contacts, etc but until we treat it as a public health issue instead of a crime, and have the budgetary support behind that shift, arrests won’t change much.

    Now if this is a vacant building and there are negligent property owners then by all means hound DCRA until they declare it vacant and post those orange notices. You can report a vacant property at [email protected] and they will inspect. Vacant properties, in theory, get the District more taxes if collected properly and can open up new housing/retail space needs.

    • Anonymous

      I know that how it is, but strongly disagree. You’re drinking the MPD kool aid. If MPD refuses to arrest these individuals, then it becomes accepted behavior. It’s not a long term solution, but turning a blind eye to quality life issues is one of the main reasons people have lost faith in MPD. It’s not like they are stopping that much violent crime. These people are breaking the law. Do your job.

  • Sounds like a good argument in favor of Airbnb!

  • MK

    Brandon Todd has clogged up my voicemail saying that he will be at the Walter Reed campus this Saturday from 2 to 5 so you can complain to him in person, not that he’ll do anything.

  • Hillary

    There are a couple of schools right there, too – including the one I work at. Didn’t realize my six year old students were passing this on the way home. Maybe we can look into it as a safety issue for the kids in the neighborhood as well? I’ll ask around and see if anyone on staff has noticed this.

  • Jasmin Benab ( Mayors Office)

    Good evening,
    This has been brought to our attention and the property will be secured early next week. Will keep you posted.
    Jasmin Benab
    Mayors Office

  • missd

    When corresponding with council or ANC, try to include photos or videos if it’s safe to take them. Show them the condition of the property and asking whether they’d like to pass it themselves on the way home from work.
    There was a single person living on the porch of a stalled rowhouse renovation, being verbally abusive to passing women and leaving trash and empties in the yard. It was written up in Washingtonian and then got cleaned up and aggressively boarded up shortly thereafter. It got noticed because it was on 21st St NW, 25 feet from P, but there’s no doubt that the authorities can take action if they’ decide to.

  • ANON

    Google – “Skunk Shot” it may work in your situation.


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