A reader reports Friday afternoon:

“I just got home from a long Friday very mad that I saw three motorcycle cops speeding down the Metropolitan Branch Trail at 5:30 PM with no sirens or lights. I am 100% certain that motor vehicles aren’t allowed on the trail and am of the belief that cops aren’t supposed to endanger lives (we all know the reality).”

Side note from REI:

“Met. Branch Trail Safety & Access Study:Public Input Meeting

Date: 6/16/2015
Event Location: REI Community Space at Wunder Garten: 150 M St. NE Washington, DC
Time: 5:30 – 7:30 PM EDT

Description: The NoMa Business Improvement District, Metropolitan Police Department, District Department of Transportation and local stakeholders, leaders and advocates are leading an effort to enhance safety, accessibility and the user experience on the Metropolitan Branch Trail. This effort has been underway since April and the project team is in the process of finalizing recommendations for improvements to be implemented. The team is looking for input from the public (you!) on the concepts and ideas that have been developed thus far. These ideas have come from one-on-one conversations with stakeholders, public workshops along the trail, and over 750 responses from a public survey. Whether you are a trail user or not, your participation is essential to the success of this process.”

Given all the crime reports we’ve heard if they were responding in an official capacity – I think I’d be ok with it. If it deters crime would you support MPD motorcycles on the the Metropolitan Branch Trail or do you think that’d be too dangerous?


From the MPD-5D listserv:

Another resident was attacked in an act of random violence on the Metro Branch Trail last evening around 6:30 PM between the NY Ave underpass and the R St exit on the trail while walking home from work. The victim was punched in the face by a 14 year old boy (in the presence of his 8 and 10 year old siblings?). No attempt was made to take any of her belongings. Your officers apprehended the suspects, so your team deserves credit in that regard. The situation is sad in so many respects and it is likely that since the assailants were juveniles they will likely not be punished in any meaningful way.

My issue is that there has become a pattern of violence and theft in this area of the trail in recent weeks. Even after the shooting in the area there was little discernible uptick in patrols or police presence on the trail (aside from a cruiser with no officer present that was parked at the corner of the trail and R St. for about a week). This is NOT ENOUGH. Residents use this trail daily to commute to and from work and it deserves regular patrols from officers and proper sense of safety for those who use it. Honestly at this point, the trail has already gotten enough negative press (rightfully so) that many of my neighbors that I know are afraid to use it and find other, less safe and convenient from a pedestrian or cyclist standpoint, routes through the area. This only makes the issues on the trail more pervasive because with less regular pedestrian traffic the trail becomes more of a target to would be thieves and thugs who can now single out victims.

MPD-5D has to seize the opportunity to turn around the rash of recent violence and make the trail safe for the community and hope that people return or watch as it devolves into a missed opportunity. This will likely only lead to more issues for your officers. This is a tipping point for me and likely many of my neighbors with regards to the trail.

MPD responds:

The recent violent activity on the Metropolitan Bike Trail has been on our “radar” and at the forefront our course of action.

While the officers were not able to prevent this offense from occurring, they were on the trail at that time and coordinated to cut off the escape routes of the individuals as they attempted to flee.

The safety of the citizens on the trail is paramount to the Fifth District. As such, we have tactics that are not being disclosed to address this problem.

As officers continue to patrol this trail on mountain bikes, we are convinced we will eliminate these incidents and will place a few more officers on the trail in order to spread out and cover the entire area.

I appreciate your concerns and hope you will contact us with any future matters. Thank You.

We last spoke about crime on the MBT on Jan. 26th.


From MPD:

Unfortunately we had another incident on the trail this evening. A lone male victim was walking on the trail at R Street NE when he was assaulted by two young black males. We believe that this was in an attempt to rob him. The victim sustained no injuries and no property was stolen. MPD units were in the area and quickly stopped several subject, one of who was identified as a suspect and placed under arrest.

This occurred at just after 7 PM and the description for the suspects is two black males, both 16-19 years of age, one wearing a white tank top and dark shorts with a short afro hairstyle and the other wearing no shirt and dark pants – the later was arrested.

I know my officers are out there constantly checking the trail and though these repeated crimes are frustrating, I am encouraged that we were able to arrest a suspect. I also spoke to the detective investigating the recent robberies tonight and we are working some strong leads in those cases. I can also report that we have recovered a taser during our investigations. We believe it was the one brandished in a recent event. In addition, we are implementing an additional action plan that will utilize some of our district’s tactical units.

Again, I want to thank this community and commend you for your dedication. Be careful and aware out there – please dial 911 if you see anything suspicious, anything matching the lookouts we’ve had in these incidents – we can always just come check it out. In all these cases the lookout has been for two or more black males in their late teens hanging out on the trail between Rhode Island Ave. and New York Ave.


From MPD:

“Over the course of the last week, several robberies have occurred on the Metropolitan Branch Trail. As a result of diligent investigative work, conducted by the Fifth District Detective’s Unit, several suspects were developed.

On Wednesday, November 20, 2019, members of the Fifth District’s Crime Suppression Team conducted operations in the area of the Metropolitan Branch Trail, in an effort to locate and apprehend the suspects involved in this string of recent robberies along the trail. Read More


“Dear PoPville,

There was a story about someone who metro police were looking for because he was sexually harassing people on the metro. I was very distressed to learn that he is an accounting professor at UDC. Students in his class still have yet to hear from the University about this issue. He was teaching accounting I class on Saturday at 9:30.

I am very concerned for many reasons, but mainly a registered sex offender was allowed to teach at the institution.

[ARLNow reported:

“Day is a registered sex offender, according to MTPD. He was previously accused of other sexual crimes on a Boston MBTA subway train in 2004 and a Metro train in Arlington in 2002, according to news reports.”]

At this point in history this is just unacceptable. Students are very worried about their safety and the plan for finishing the semester their grades.”

Ed. Note: An old article from 2012 after a previous arrest says: “He has taught at the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins.”




“As part of its ongoing effort to enhance the safety and security of bus operators and passengers, Metro plans to test the use of video monitors on board buses as a deterrent to prevent fare evasion and bus operator assaults. The move is part of a multi-layered response that also includes enhanced fare enforcement by plain clothes and uniformed Transit Police officers, outreach campaigns — including targeted outreach in public schools, the installation of plexiglass dividers to protect bus operators, and enhanced penalties for those found guilty of assault.

Video monitors will be installed on 22 articulated (60-foot) Metrobuses as part of the pilot program. The monitors will allow passengers to see exactly what the security cameras are recording in real time. One 8.4-inch screen will be installed above the bus operator so that riders can see themselves as they board, and one 19-inch screen will be mounted behind the driver facing the passenger cabin with a four-camera display of the bus interior.

“Metrobus operator assaults not only put our employees at risk, but also impact the safety of everyone else onboard the bus,” said Metro Interim General Manager and CEO Jack Requa. “Through this effort, we want to remind riders that all activity aboard our buses is captured by the cameras and see whether the presence of the new video monitors has an additional deterrent effect.”

The 22 selected buses are all assigned to the X2 route, which runs along H Street from Benning Road to Gallery Place and Lafayette Square. The route is among the system’s busiest with an average weekday ridership of 12,180 trips.

Four X2 bus operators have been assaulted in 2015, which is more incidents than any other route. Read More



Washington Post reports:

“A charter school teacher walking on the Metropolitan Branch Trail in Northeast Washington was beaten and robbed Thursday night by a large group of assailants, according to D.C. police.”


From MPD:

“The Metropolitan Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying and locating multiple persons of interest in connection with a robbery force and violence which occurred in the 600 Block of Rhode Island Avenue, NE.

On Thursday, October 31, 2013, at approximately 9:15 pm, an adult male victim was walking in the area of the 600 Block of Rhode Island Avenue, NE when one of 10 persons gathered announced a robbery and the entire group assaulted him, took his property, and fled the scene. The victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

The persons of interest are described as black males between 18 to 22 years of age.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the police at (202) 727-9099.”

In June we spoke about a cyclist attacked on the MBT at that time MPD responded to concerns here.


Unfortunately another disturbing crime on the Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT). A reader sends a report from the MBT Yahoo group:

“From Commander Solberg (via ANC Commissioner Tim Clark) last night:

It appears to be a robbery involving three suspects. A shot was fired at the victim, and he was grazed but thankfully not seriously injured. It happened at 3rd and T Sts. about 6:15.

We have not made any arrests.”

Subsequent messages are unclear as to whether the actual incident took place on the trail or at 3rd and T St, NE.


On Wednesday, January 25, 2012, at approximately 6:15 pm, an area resident was walking on the Metropolitan Branch Bike Trail in the area of 3rd & R Street, Northeast, when he was accosted by three individuals. One subject produced a weapon and demanded the victim’s possessions. After complying and without provocation, the victim was punched in the face. The victim then attempted to flee from the scene and sustained a graze gunshot wound to the hip area after the suspect fired his weapon.

All three suspects then fled on foot. The victim received treatment for his injuries and an area hospital. The Metropolitan Police Department continues its investigation into the identity of these three individuals.

To ensure this area remains safe for all, the bike trail will be monitored and patrolled by officers on a regular basis.

Capt. Jeff Brown


If you use the Met Branch Trail (MBT), here’s your chance to get involved in improvements to the trail and surrounding corridor.

Over the past year, a number of local nonprofit groups, including the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and Casey Trees, have done some great things to the MBT, like planting shade and fruit trees, and helping DC Prep paint a colorful mural beside the pathway.

And an active community has grown around the MBT, responding to recent incidents of crime by organizing regular volunteer patrols.

Friends of the Met Branch Trail is organizing a Day of Service on the trail – Saturday, September 10, 9 a.m. to noon – and you can get involved!

Volunteers are needed to pick up trash and weed sections of the trail. Equipment like rakes, utility brooms, yard and garden shears are needed as well. Refreshments will be provided.

Register here. For more information, or to volunteer as a group leader, contact Lindsay Martin: [email protected]


From MPD:

Unfortunately I must again inform the community of an incident that occurred on the trail yesterday morning. At about 8:15 AM a male victim was robbed on the trail alongside 300 R St. NE. The victim was walking on the trail and was approached by the suspect who asked for the time of day. The victim then retrieved his I-phone to the give the time and tried to walk away. However, the suspect brandished a handgun and robbed the victim of hi phone and wallet. There were no injuries.

The suspect was an 18-21 year old black male, 5’8″-5’9″ in height, weighing about 165 lbs. The suspect was also reportedly wearing glasses with dark frames. The tactic used by this suspect is very common, i.e. asking for time. Also be aware that walking alone and with your ear-buds in can make you an inviting target – it’s something we see on the Metro, for example, all too often.

I want to again ask everyone to be very cautious, to be aware of your surroundings, and to be wary of anything or anyone that is suspicious. Please call it in to 911. We do have officers giving the trail special attention 24 hours a day, so we are close by.

I also want to review the events of the last few months, and the strides the community has made in securing the trail. Unfortunately, I have seen some news outlets reporting information that is not entirely accurate.

Between May 5th and June 9th there were five incidents of concern on the trail. All were similar in time of occurrence, suspect description and methods. There was a taser brandished in one assault, but no one was ever tasered on the trail that I am aware of. MPD officers did recover a taser during the investigation of the incidents. In the last event on June 9th, MPD effected an arrest. There were no incidents after that until July 9th, when a robbery occurred at 11 PM on the trail. Now, on July 15th, we’ve had a robbery at 8:15 AM.

I do think we were successful in breaking the cycle of crimes that were occurring in May and June. We are now seeing some new developments and I ask for the community’s support as we investigate and address these. Being informed and aware is half the battle. With the additional steps taken, such as citizen patrols, and with continued diligence, I believe the community and MPD can provide a safe environment on the MBT.

Sergeant Jon Dorrough
Metropolitan Police Department
Washington, D.C.
Fifth District

We spoke about the troubles in May and June here and here.


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