Friday, October 19, 2007

Another Mugging 600 Block of M Street

A neighbor on Ridge Street sent this e-mail this morning:

THURS evening 5:30pm or so, 18 OCT 07, 600 Block of M St. NW
Out houseguest was walking from our home on Ridge Street NW to the Mt. Vernon Sq. METRO Station. He was heavily burdened with his travel luggage: pull bag, backpack and briefcase.
His young assailant [early 20's] approached from the front as our guest was walking on the North side of M Street. ASSAILANT attempted to wrench our friend's backpack from him, but failed since both arms were through the straps. Knocking him down and kicking him in the head/face, the ASSAILANT tried again to get the backpack.
Our friend is a professionally trained wrestler -- he tackled the ASSAILANT and tried to pin him to the ground, but burdened with all his luggage he couldn't sustain the hold and the ASSAILANT fled.
UPSHOT: Nothing was stolen. The facial bruises did not require medical attention.
POLICE: Although called, said they were "not available to take a report just now." Rather than miss his train home to WVA, our friend continued on his way. He will file a report later.
ASSAILANT: The word conveys none of the anger and disgust I feel for the brutal child who in his ignorance attacked our friend. He will find it difficult in his life to escape the ripening of this Karma.
IRONY: I was busy at the time of the attack, attending Ms. Harolyn Blackwell, a local Shaw diva, born and raised on Irving Street. Ms. Blackwell was singing at His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Gala Celebration of World Peace at the Mellon Auditorium. Ms. Blackwell and I mused about all the good changes in Shaw since she grew up here.

This is the third such recent mugging I know about in this block, not counting a beating/mugging in the station elevator. At the Mt. Vernon Square meeting this week, police said they had caught the "chokehold" muggers, but it looks like there are more, or else the perps are out on bond and back at work. The MO sounds slightly different, but still fits the pattern of preying on people heading to the metro.

This is a busy block walked by many people, and it clearly deserves some concentrated police attention. Until the last month or so, I had considered the area around this station to be fairly safe, since we had not (to my knowledge, anyway) had the kind of attacks on metro patrons that have plagued the Shaw/Howard station just up the line. (Haven't heard anything about that lately, come to think of it.)

Maybe we residents need to try to embarrass the city into providing better security in the vicinity of the station by demonstrating at the Convention Center with signs pointing out the crime problem. MVSNA got a lot of attention from its demo at Fun Fair, and frankly I think this is more serious.

Bottom line in the meantime: Stay alert when you're walking near the Metro station.


At 10/19/2007 6:36 AM, Anonymous rr 446 said...

Earth to Lt. Neal:

sir, crime camera at 5th and M please.

At 10/19/2007 6:57 AM, Anonymous Carmen said...

I SO agree with you that this is much more important than the fun fair thing, and it struck me that we don't see the same response to crime.

rr446--London is virtually covered in cameras, and it does not stop people from committing crimes.

Maybe what we need in Shaw (and Columbia Heights too) is a demonstration to bring more attention to the lack of city services we get here, from simple things like park maintenance (try to treat Lincoln Park or Dupont Circle in a similar fashion, and see how long that lasts), to police in the community engaging the people (still waiting for a single siting of an officer on foot).

I can see the racism/classicism (is that a word?) at work here. Its stark, the difference in services here versus everywhere else I've lived in this city.

At 10/19/2007 7:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey -- let's not go around comparing problems like Fun Fair when they are all related. Fun Fair drew its share of criminals -- like the one that killed the owner of Subway Liquor in August (we regularly see guns, knives, drugs and prostitution around this establishment). This is one community and all the 5th Street issues that contribute to crime must be addressed. The neighbors in the triangle portion of your neighborhood support your efforts up at 5th and M and hope that you also support ours. Let's work together.

At 10/19/2007 7:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree -- the degree of crack dealing and lawlessness on the 900 block of 5th Street was out of control -- and Fun Fair was a huge contributor to that problem. Clearly, many of the guys involved in that are also the criminals that prey on the folks at 5th and M. The Mount Vernon neighborhood association helped the folks in the neighborhood mount a noisy campaign that finally got the city do something after 12 years of neglect. That is apparently how things get done in this city. So instead of comments dismissing our community's victory, why don't you invite folks to come assist with this next crime problem? Let's not have an us and them mentality here.

At 10/19/2007 7:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a group of twenty-somethings that were being aggressive to the residents at 555 Mass. Ave on the 5th Street side of the building yesterday at 6:30 p.m. Perhaps one of these guys were the perpetrators of the mugging. Do we have a description? Perhaps we can help ID them if they hang out again in our part of the neighborhood.

At 10/19/2007 8:24 AM, Anonymous rr 446 said...

perhaps if you lived closer to Fun Fair you'd experience the beauty of the experience.

At 10/19/2007 8:27 AM, Anonymous rr 446 said...

crime camera it may not stop the crime but it could help id criminal no?

At 10/19/2007 8:36 AM, Blogger DaddyFiveOh said...

Let's not get distracted by comparing/contrasting this problem with FunFair. My point was that the demonstrations led by MVSNA at FunFair got results--that's what we want. I'm glad they did what they did, and am proposing that we apply that kind of initiative and leadership to this problem as well.

The block in question is within the MVSNA boundaries, and I would love it if the association (which, for my money, is far and away the best-led and most effective civic group in the area) would take the lead here as well.

At 10/19/2007 8:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is absolutely something the MVSNA would want to address. From my view, all the 5th Street crime is connected. Do we have a description of the mugger so we can keep a lookout for him? The folks on the street were pretty aggressive yesterday evening. What do you think is happening?

At 10/19/2007 9:43 AM, Blogger si said...

The police recently arrested 2 juveniles responsible for some area muggings with a gun. (they made their getaway to mccollough court, i think one of them lived there) one of them had an extensive record and was charged as an adult.

They have not arrested the choking mugger.

mvsna is definitely paying attention and doing what we can. everyone please leave you lights on when its dark, report non functioning street lights to 727-1000, and interact with the police to address the situation.

PSA 308 Lt. Ralph Neal (202) 673-7403/ (202) 506-0664 (c)

At 10/19/2007 10:57 AM, Blogger DaddyFiveOh said...

Si: The meeting notes published in the MVS blog on the public safety report said "In reference to the robberies in this area, we’ve caught two guys who were putting their victims on chokeholds." So that is not true?

(I couldn't make the meeting, and was relying on the published notes.)

Note that these incidents were reported in the 600 block of M occupied by the United House of Prayer, which is generally pretty well lit, even at night. This last one took place during daylight hours. I walked down that block maybe twenty minutes after the time it apparently took place and noticed nothing amiss.

At 10/19/2007 1:26 PM, Anonymous Cary Silverman said...

I think we can get some more attention, and hopefully results, if we come together with a plan.

There has been an apparent spree of muggings in our area and I know that not all of them have been reported on the blogs. Before that, there was a rash of shootings (which really has never stopped). And just before that we had a breakout of burglaries.

We've had some small successes. Finally, due to our screaming, MPD is taking a report for each and every shooting incident and not only taking a report if someone gets shot. That will help keep track of these incidents and hopefully get us more attention. We do need more foot and bike patrols with officers who engage the communities. Commander Groomes reported that this is soon coming and I have heard one sighting of police walking the beat in MVS. Obviously, we need routine foot patrols.

We should consider coming together as a group and developing a wish list for improving safety in Shaw and Mount Vernon Square. Then we can talk about the best way to get what we need. I'm out of town next week, but I would be happy to host a meeting the week of the 29th. I can think of several things we can ask for immediately, but let's all brainstorm together. We might also try to put together what stats we can about muggings, shootings, burglaries, etc. in our area to bolster our case.

At 10/19/2007 1:58 PM, Blogger si said...

whoops i'll tell pookie he made a typo. we proofed too fast, sorry about that. martin took video so we shall know for sure but i am pretty confident they said the choker has not been caught.

i'd love to see patrols going thru all of those parking lots & alleys. bike patrols especially.

At 10/19/2007 2:06 PM, Blogger The Whitman Watcher said...

First, there is a new blog in town:

The Whitman Speaks DC Blog:

The former Whitman DC Condo blog is no longer.

All residents of The Whitman need to be aware of these crime issues.

The Whitman has experienced many bike thefts as well as destruction of our elevators by a vandal.

If there is any information we should be featuring on our blog or posting in the building, let us know!

You can reach us at:

At 10/20/2007 12:24 PM, Anonymous Mr. Ray said...

Bernie Goetz, where are you now? Police loaded the subways with footbeat cops after that incident.

At 10/20/2007 2:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

can we get some more info about teh other muggings and the assault in the elevator?

At 10/21/2007 5:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had read your post from 3rd district. It is really sad that public safety we really need to work on. I hope your friend would overcome his incident in DC. We had been reported to the police even DC detective about our office problem. Perhaps it would take some time for thing to resolve. Meantime, we can only learn to protect ourselves. Take care.

DC office manager


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