Some of you may have seen the following on the Shaw Neighborhood listserve (originally from the Bloomingdale listserve), but I think it bears repeating:
From a U Street NW resident, received late Thursday evening, August 9,
I want to share my experience which makes me a full member of
Tonight Thursday, August 9, 2007, I was mugged. As I came out of the Metro Station Shaw-Howard Univ. Green Line, I was intercepted by a guy who jumped across Rhode Island Av. from the Dwelllings building, and pulled out a 10 to 15 inches silver knife and said "give me all you fucking money or I kill you right here" I was walking home on Rhode Island Av., in front of the Catholic Charities Center for the Homeless, in a well lit area, and with a knife on my chest so I gave him all my money, then he made me empty my pockets and demanded only the cash; then, he said "go." As I got on to the corner of 6 St. and Rhode Island, and turned left I was shocked and froze to hear the same phrase, and I turned to look on the corner of my eye I saw that he was mugging to another guy in the very same spot were he intercepted me. What is even worse as I reached the next corner on 5 street and S St. I saw a white girl crying, being comforted by some people -she was sitting on the ground- and said "I was mugged." She was in shocked I told her that I was walking away from the same thing, because I was just mugged myself too. I do not know whether she reported the incident or not. I do not know if the guy behind me will report it or not, but the certain thing is that I did report my case.
More to this awful experience.
As I walked home. I called 911 and I was asked by the operator very kindly "can you hold, please?" Well, I was in shocked and I did not hold and a few more steps further away, I called 311, and the male operator, pretended not to understand me, asked to describe the man, all in such as way like "I hope that you get bored and not report this." I forced him to take the description and gave him my number although he was not willing to take all the info and I was asked all his questions in a really ineffective way as if in bad mood and I was disturbing him or delaying him to leave at the end of his shift. One hour later no phone call back from the police back in my house, I called 911 again and finally I was able to report the crime. For nothing, but at least to make sure that this goes to the record. I wonder how many people give up and never report when mugged. If the people who call 911 or 311 and receive the treatment I got I have the hunch that many people just give up. I wonder if I were not such a persistent person give up and do not take the time to write a detail email like to to share the concern and give a word to those who live around here. I wonder how many neighbors of Bloomingdale are victims of this and never get to report crimes.
All is clear to me, the area is far more dangerous than it was or has been. I have lived here for 7 years and since I do not have a car and walk around and use public transportation I can assure you that the neighborhood is far more dangerous than it was or has been when most houses were empty and there were less people in the area. Now robbers know that there is money here and this is far better place to come and mugged people. The police does not show up. Note aside, after walking 20 minutes, which usually takes me only 10, I did not see one single police car at all. Keep that in mind when you walk from the metro.
Make sure that your life is more important than walking around Rhode Island.
Comment: This is only the latest example of the flagrant failure of the 911/311 system to work properly. If anyone has been reading the MPD3 listserve, it is full of other instances that are way too numerous to be just flukes. It's hard to tell just how serious a crime has to be to get a response from the system, but it seems fairly clear at this point that armed robbery doesn't make the cut. This is something that citizens should be truly outraged about, and I think it's time for a grass-roots campaign to get some action from the mayor, police chief, and council on this.
The other thing I wonder about is why there doesn't seem to have been any consistent effort by the Metro police to patrol the Shaw/Howard station, which has been the scene of numerous incidents in which Metro patrons have been victimized in recent months. Also, in case you missed it, there was another incident at the beginning of the month in which a neighbor was robbed and beaten in the elevator of the Mt. Vernon Square station. (I noticed the elevator was closed for several days recently, but is back in operation now. The glass in the elevator has been broken repeatedly over the last year--not sure just how, but I hope it wasn't with someone's head, because it's very thick tempered glass.) Maybe it's also time to direct some serious inquiries to the Metro Police about what they're doing to protect patrons in and around stations in this area.