I live at 5th and O Sts NW. I’m done with the insanity every time the weather turns nice and my neighbors go on shooting sprees. They’re not even my neighbors, they’re the people that lost their right to subsidized housing because of their criminal records, who now live in MD. But they drive here to hang out where the 5th and 7th St gangs were and pretend their old “territory” is still theirs – you can see their MD plates filling the parking lots of the housing communities on these blocks. My neighbors and I pitched holy hell two summers ago when there were multiple shootings outside Kennedy Rec until we got a 24/7 police presence on that block. It took 5 shootings and daily phone calls to the mayor’s office to get it done. We have talked to the police, we have talked to the mayor’s office, we have talked to our ANC reps. The problem is tremendously clear. These are repeat offenders who get arrested, but are back on our street within a matter of days. So the issue is the court system. These felons are not being prosecuted, they are being released, and they know they’re going to be released. Our officers are present on these blocks, they engage with the community and they risk their safety, as they did last night, chasing an armed man for multiple blocks on foot until he managed to evade them on our block while his friends shot up 6th and O. I cannot imagine how frustrating it is to do your job, day in and day out, and watch the same people you arrest for blatant criminal activity back on the same block committing these same violent offenses in less than three days.
So where is the breakdown?
Are there not enough attorneys to prosecute these cases? Are the laws protecting young violent offenders too lenient? Does the city need to mandate that these massive subsided housing communities have their contracts renegotiated? Is there miscommunication or no communication between the courts and the facilities that manage ankle monitors – which led to Duane Johnson murdering Tricia on Christmas? I can see that the police in our neighborhood are doing about as best they can do with the situation. There are a few one-off stories about cops sitting in their cars on their cell-phones, but overall these men and women are remarkably present in our community. They have been dealt a crap deal by a city that isn’t seeing these arrests through. And the residents who have been on this block for anywhere from 50 years to 5 months, want some answers, but more than that we want results. I don’t need the mayor’s office reading off statistics on the phone to me about how crime is actually down in the city, when there are the same men trolling the same four blocks shooting the same guns outside the same playground year after year after year. We have been told a solution is being sought, and yet I hear nothing about new laws, regulations, or reform that will solve the problem that we are facing. Someone, many someones, are not doing their damn job.”