Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Farmers Market to Start Up Nearby

I noticed a post on DCist about a new farmers market to start June 17 at 1st and R NW in nearby Bloomingdale. It will be open on Sundays from 10 to 2. It's a lot closer than Dupont (maybe even walking distance) and should be more accessible. (Try finding a parking place near Dupont if you don't get there before 9.) There's a poster and a little map on the Bloomingdale blog.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Crime and Perceptions

My fellow blogger over at Off Seventh responded to my previous post about crime statistics by asking about our neighboring PSA 307 (basically the Logan Circle area between L and S and 9th and 15th). [PSA 308 is bounded by 9th and NJ and by NY and S/Florida]. So I downloaded the stats for 307 for the same date range: Feb. 1- May 19, and what I found may surprise you.

First of all, there were more than twice as many crimes reported in 307 as in 308: 248 vs. 106. Here are the numbers:

Crime PSA307 PSA308

ADW 14 7

Burglary 38 10

Homicide 1 0

Robbery 23 18

Stolen cars 15 22

Theft 65 19

Theft from auto 92 28

Sex Abuse 0 2

Total 248 106

Clearly the biggest difference is in thetheft andtheft from auto categories. I suspect this stems from the fact that 307 has many more restaurants, bars, etc. that attract non-residents who may be less careful about keeping valuables out of sight in their cars and also that there are more commercial establishments that may be attractive to thieves.

But even allowing for that, in the violent crimes category, Logan (PSA307) actually appears worse than Shaw (PSA308), when you look at the numbers. This, by the way, isnt just a fluke; I had previously looked at the data from last year, which showed similar results.

The odd thing is that if you asked a random set of residents which area issafer, Id bet that most people would say Logan. So why is that?

Here are my theories (in no particular order):

  • Random gunfire and drive-by shootings. There are, unfortunately, way too many of these in Shaw, and most of it doesnt show up in the crime stats. You dont often hear about this kind of stuff in Logan nowadays. Having shootings in public areasoften in broad daylight, sometimes in sight of policecreates a lot of anxiety because who knows when some stray bullet might find you?
  • Known gang activity and visible drug dealing. By now most people are aware that the shootings are almost entirely linked to beefs between local gangs, and we see the graffiti evidence of their presence on walls, sidewalks, and trees all over the area. Also, Id wager that most Shaw residents could point out addresses where they know or suspect that drugs are being dealt on a regular basis. The drug activity is probably true in Logan as well (I just dont know how prevalent it is), but you dont hear much about gangs in that area.
  • General appearance. By now, Logan is pretty thoroughly tarted upShaw a lot less so. There are many more derelict properties, more trash in the streetsjust the sort of things that can create a subliminal sense of apprehension.

  • Racial perceptions. Logan is whiter, andlets be frank heremany people associate white neighborhoods with beingsafe. Never mind that black people dont like crime any more than white people do.

But in reality, are you actually more at risk from crime in Shaw than in Logan? Is it possible that it’s really just the opposite?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

More Shots at 7th and O

Just went out to walk the dogs at 11:15 p.m. and saw lots of flashing police lights at 7th and O. I asked a policeman if something else had happened, and he said that shots were fired there earlier tonight, but no one was hit. (I guess that means it doesn't register in the crime statistics.)

I just saw that Cmdr. McCoy posted this on the 3D list serve:
Tonight at about 8;45 pm at 1301 7th St NW a subject was seen firing a handgun. A sergeant from our Narcotics and Special Investigation Division was driving in the block and observed this at which time the subject fired on the sgt. Fortunately, neither the sgt or anyone else was injured. Other officers from 3D and the redeployed group converged on the scene, but the subject was able to escape capture.

Maybe we're all getting a little too used to this.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Crime, by the Numbers

Back in January I put together a list of reported crimes involving guns that got a fair amount of attention. My impression has been that after a really frightening spike in gun-related crime in January, things calmed down considerably for a couple of months. I attributed this largely to an expanded police presence and more aggressive patrolling.

Unfortunately, that lull seems to have ended with a number of shootings and increasingly frequent reports of gunfire in the past few weeks. I don’t know if that’s because the police “surge” has slacked off, or if it’s for totally unrelated reasons. We have had at least a couple of instances of shootings virtually within sight of police personnel, so it’s obvious that police presence won’t necessarily prevent a drive-by.

I’ve collected and done a little analysis of the published police crime statistics for PSA 308 from Feb. 1 through the middle of May. Of course, there are problems with the police stats, since these only include cases where there is a complainant. So if, for example, someone gets shot and refuses to make a complaint, it doesn’t go on the books (at least that’s how I understand it), and the cases don’t include reports of gunfire where no one gets hit.

Still, I think they’re interesting, so here’s what I found. According to the stats, since February 1, there have been:

  • 7 cases of assault with deadly weapon. Two of these were with a gun, both in the 1300 block of 7th Street; one was with a knife. The rest were listed as “other”.
  • 18 reported robberies. Six of these involved a gun. Two happened on the 1100 block of 5th Street (one with a gun, the other an “attempt”).
  • 10 reported burglaries. Only two of these occurred when the premises were occupied. Two were in the 1500 block of Marion, and two in the 400 block of Warner.
  • 19 theft cases. These included two cases of shoplifting, 1 stolen bicycle (guess which one), and one set of car tags. Of the rest, the reported value of the stolen items was less than $250 in 10 of the cases, more than $250 in 5 cases.
  • 22 stolen autos. Three of these were in the 400 block of Ridge Street, and two in the 1100 block of 5th Street.
  • 28 thefts from autos (typically the most frequently reported crime). Four were in the 900 block of L Street, two in the 400 block of N Street, and 2 in the 500 block of L. The rest were scattered throughout the PSA.

Overall, the location with the most crimes was the 1300 block of 7th (no surprise there) with nine reported cases. There were five in the 1100 block of 5th, and four each in the 1500 block of Marion, 400 block of N, 400 block of Ridge (incl. the corner of Ridge and 5th), and the 900 block of L.

According to the police stats, overall the number of both violent and property crimes is down 16% compared with the same period last year. If it doesn’t seem that way, it’s probably because of all the gunfire seen and heard in the neighborhood since the beginning of the year, which tends to trump the official numbers for most people.

Of course, all crimes are worrisome, but I think most people are most concerned with those that involve major bodily injury or the threat thereof, particularly when firearms are used. So here’s my list of the crime reports that seem to me to be the most serious. (The number in parens starting with “7” is the police case number, where applicable.):

--2/3, ADW with gun (shooting), 1300 block of 7th, 15 y/o girl hit [actually happened on 2/2] (7015696);

--2/23, Robbery with gun, 600 block of L, (7023818);

--3/12, Robbery with gun, 1800 block of 6th, (7031687);

--3/19, Robbery with gun, 700 block of N, (7035030);

--4/3, Robbery with gun, 400 block of M, (7042621);

--4/4, Robbery with gun, 1200 block of 6th, (7042750);

--4/16, ADW with gun (shooting), 1300 block of 7th, 22 y/o male hit (7048668)

--5/12, ADW with gun (shooting), man shot in drive-by at 9th and P (PSA 307, 062-373)

The following were reported in blogs and list serves, but don’t show up on the police stats; so I can’t vouch for accuracy. Please let me know about mistakes or omissions:

--2/10, shots heard near 7th and Q

--3/27, new bullet holes seen at Kelsey Gardens at 7th and Q (site of January homicide)

--4/2, shots heard fired near 6th and P/Q/Marion

--4/21-22, shots fired off (into the air?) around 7th and N

--4/23, shots fired (?), 500 block of Q, street blocked off with police tape

--5/1, shots heard fired near 5th and N

--5/2, shots heard vicinity of 5th and M (also heard at 11th and M)

--5/6, shooting at 7th and O, 2 males hit but uncooperative with police

--5/11, shots fired near Marion and Q

--5/13, gunshots heard in 400 block of Ridge

Bottom line: I think there has been some improvement since that horrendous January spree, but the recent trend is pretty troubling because the shootings seem to be picking up again.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Ayatollah of Lynchburg is Dead

Shall we shed a fake tear for Jerry Falwell, a man who devoted his life to trying to make "Christian" a synonym for bigotry and greed. Who thought apartheid was pretty neat. Who said 9/ll was God's punishment for gays and feminists. I know it's tacky to speak ill of the dead, but it's really hard to think of anything good to say about this man. Maybe he liked children and small furry animals.

There should be a special circle of hell for those who use religion to promote hate. If so, I can think of a few more who belong there. Jerry's waiting for you, Pat.

I can hardly wait to hear the smarmy eulogies from the Republican candidates.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Interview with 1301 7th Manager

If you haven't already seen it, be sure to check out the very interesting video interview with the manager of 1301 7th Street about the recent shooting on Kevin Chapple's site. Some illuminating details as well as a little different perspective about what's happening and what to do about it. Kudos to Martin (I'm guessing that's who did the interview) for doing this.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Another ANC Meeting, Another Meltdown

I went home after the meeting too disgusted and depressed to write anything. If you weren’t there, check out the video at ANC2C02,

and MVSNA President Cary Silverman has provided an excellent recap and thoughtful comments here. About the only good thing to say about it is that the videotaping issue finally seems to be settled.

A few additional thoughts, for what they’re worth.

--Jack Evans’s intervention didn’t work—to state the obvious. The four commissioners reportedly had agreed on two things: 1) to distribute documents to be approved at the meeting (such as minutes, reports, etc.) to all the commissioners before the meeting so they would not have to be read and considered during the meeting, and 2) to elect Kevin Chapple as secretary, replacing Barbara Curtis. The first item—besides just being common courtesy—is absolutely normal routine procedure in any functioning organization; what possibly could be the objection to it? The second item would likely result in a great improvement in record-keeping since, as things stand, no one except the ANC commissioners ever sees the minutes and Kevin is already acting as the de facto public rapporteur for the ANC through his website and newsletter. When the time came, however, Doris Brooks reneged on both. The reelection of the Secretary never even came up. The ball was in the Thorpe/Brooks court, and they effectively told Jack Evans to take a flying leap.

--The poor, hapless Shaw Main Streets representative never had a chance. Personally, I couldn’t care less if they put up the banners or not (or what color they are), but for goodness sake, what harm would they do? But that’s not what this was about. SMS is Alex Padro’s baby, so Leroy Thorpe is automatically against it—whatever it is. Thorpe’s ludicrous accusations about “clandestine meetings” and the complaint that SMS doesn’t communicate with the community are nonsense. I have no connection to SMS, but I’ve attended two public meetings over the past year or so, which I learned about through flyers distributed throughout the neighborhood, not through the SMS website, which I rarely look at. Notices about events are posted in stores and other visible locations, so if you don’t know what SMS is doing, it’s your own fault. (By contrast, I have never yet seen an ANC2C or ECCA flyer left on my block.)

--I’m tired of being tagged with collective guilt for something I have nothing to do with. At every single ANC meeting (and ECCA, for that matter), several people (usually the same ones) get up and start denouncing newcomers/white people (as if they were one and the same) for attitudes that they all allegedly hold. The accusations are always so vague and non-specific that it is impossible to answer them. This happens because those running the meeting encourage it; it does not happen in meeting of other groups even when the same people are present. Here’s the thing: I take responsibility for what I say and do. If you have a problem with something I said or did, let’s talk, and if I’m wrong I’ll do my best to make it right. But don’t assume you know what someone else thinks just because they may fit some category in your mind. And don’t stand up and make vague accusations against a whole class of people and then complain about divisiveness in the community.

--Windy Rahim’s emotional departure speech was partly right: We got the ANC we elected. But she was wrong in one respect: We did not elect a Parliamentarian/Special Assistant who is still the de facto Chairperson. You gotta hand it to Leroy Thorpe—he has done what he said he was going to do after he didn’t get re-elected. But his actions indicate that he places his own ego-tripping before the welfare of the community. Denise Murray lamented last night that she’s still trying to get lights in the park at NJ and O, but let’s not forget that as ANC Chairman last summer, Mr. Thorpe opposed an initiative to do just that simply because it had been spearheaded by Mount Vernon Square without going through him first. To me, that says a lot about where his priorities lie.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

ANC Meeting Tonight--Promises Made to be Broken?

If you haven't already, be sure to check out Kevin Chapple's post regarding Monday's meeting of the elected ANC commissioners with Jack Evans--and Doris Brooks' subsequent backpedalling from promises she made at the meeting.

Let's give Jack some due credit for taking this initiative. I would say that if Ms. Brooks does not deliver on her promises, then that should be sufficient to cause Jack to intervene as threatened. Again, thanks to Kevin for keeping the community informed about all this.

ANC2C meeting tonight at Africare (we think), 440 R Steet NW, at 6:30. Be there!