A look at what's going on in Trinidad, on H Street, and in the larger area north of Capitol Hill.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Please Take Care

This guy is a friend and co-worker-

One of our Argonaut food runners [we had late business Friday night] was walking home down H around 230 Saturday AM. He was walking down H Street [probably the 1300 block]. A group of four guys grabbed him and tried to force him into the alley. He's a young, and very fit guy [used to play football]. He yanked away his arm, at which point they punched him hard and broke his jaw with the first punch. A few punches were exchanged. One of they guys grabbed him and he managed to escape by wriggling out of his two t-shirts and his sweatshirt. He ran [shirtless] to the Rock and Roll Hotel. They called the cops and gave him water. They also gave him a sweatshirt from the lost and found. The four guys reappeared looking for their target, but the door guys scared them off. I left the Argo maybe 20 minutes after this kid. I saw police and an ambulance. Then I saw him leaning against the wall. Then I saw the blood and he explained [sort of, didn't get a complete account until today [from his roommate] because the guy was kind of in shock] of what happened. Really scary. Doctors at the hospital operated and his jaw is wired for the next 4-6 weeks. Thankfully his day job is with the fed gov, so he has insurance. His job also OK'd him working from home while he recovers. By the way, he was totally sober when he left the Argonaut [so this isn't a case of a drunk stumbler being targeted].

In even more disturbing news someone else [it was characterized as happening in the same neighborhood, but I don't know what that means] was mugged and showed up at the hospital. That person was STABBED IN THE CHEEK. Obviously police can't catch/prevent this stuff all the time, but maybe we need increased patrols. Muggings generally, and especially violent muggings are not common around here compared to, say, Columbia Heights. I'd like to make sure that we minimize them. Our area is generally safe, but please do be careful. I'd hate to be reporting on more violent muggings. If anyone has more public info on the second mugging please post it here. If anyone has non-public info on these or other muggings [or possibly saw this group], PLEASE contact the police.

----------------------------------
UPDATE
Apparently it was two guys [there was some confusion]. The victim is doing ok, but is very swollen.

73 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our neighborhood has fewer muggings than Columbia Heights; but it also has an order of magnitude less foot traffic than Columbia Heights, even given the establishments on H Street. Per person in the area, we've got plenty of muggings. I'm happy to live in my neighborhood, but I'm not fooling myself: I've lived in a number of cities significantly larger than DC -- a seven-minute walk from the most crime-riddled neighborhood in the entire city of Chicago -- but in no place I've ever lived have neighborhood friends of mine been victimized by street crime like they have here. A good friend that lives a block and a half off H got kidnapped at gunpoint off his front doorstep and was marched down H to an ATM; no arrests. I harbor no illusions that it's safe here.

Feb 15, 2009, 1:41:00 AM

 
Blogger inked said...

It is true that we have less foot traffic, but I have friends who live in this neighborhood who have been mugged at least once [sometimes more] in Columbia Heights, but never around here. These muggings have all been violent [a former roommate was pistolwhipped in Columbia Heights].

I'm not claiming that this represents a scientific sample, but this kind of thing is rare around here [particularly on H Street, it is more common on side streets than on H]. H Street is generally pretty well populated [but not so much past 2AM].

The only issue I ever had around here was at 7:30AM on a Tuesday. That was back in 2005. I was wearing a suit and on the way to work. I think it's pretty safe around here. But people should exercise caution, as in any urban area, and we do need to have increased police presence as we have more people around [both residents and visitors].

Feb 15, 2009, 2:16:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm dismayed to report that I know of three robberies (none of them in this neighborhood) that were never reported. All of victims are young white guys in their 20s. I don't understand the lack of reporting, but it seemed cruel to push the issue with them. They all believed that the police would do nothing. Is this common? what gives?

Feb 15, 2009, 8:49:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We may be having an upsurge in crime. I was mugged on the 1300 block of Maryland last week by three teens. No serious injuries, but the three guys did attack first. Not quite as vicious as the Argo incident, but it does make me think we may have some guys that are targeting our neighborhood.

Feb 15, 2009, 10:18:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As far as not reporting out of belief that the police wouldn't do anything . . .I don't think it's true that the police wouldn't do anything, but I do think it's likely that nothing would come of it in the end. I would report it if I got mugged, because at least it'll make the city's crime statistics more accurate. And maybe the perp(s) will get caught committing some other crime, and ours can get tacked on. So I'd report it. But I certainly wouldn't *expect* anything to come of it.

I certainly think the police try; I certainly think they want to catch criminals, and would if they could. But they typically don't have enough information to make an arrest, and are overwhelmed. For muggings, burglaries, auto theft, etc., how many arrests do you know of where the perps were caught in any circumstance other than in the middle of committing a crime, or having committed one very shortly before (and being spotted in the immediately subsequent canvass of the area)?

Between my girlfriend and I here, we've been robbed, burgled, and had cars stolen in DC. Countless friends have been robbed, burgled, had cars stolen, or had stuff stolen from their cars in a smash and grab. And amongst all those crimes between us and our friends, in not one case has there *ever* been an arrest. *Not one*. So you first have to get past the fact that it's unlikely the police will catch anyone.

Then you have to get past the fact that if the police *do* catch anyone, it's unlikely that they'll go to trial. As documented in the media, the US Attorney's office decides not to "paper" an absurdly high fraction of the crimes committed in DC for a variety of reasons, including that they don't get funded at the level required to pursue prosecution of all the crimes they get.

And of course, then you have to get past the fact that if the police do catch someone, and if that someone does get seriously prosecuted, they have to be found guilty *and* they have to get a sentence that means something. Too often, guilty sentences here still result in criminals being back out on the street committing more crimes in a matter of days or weeks. This is especially true for juveniles who commit violent crimes.

Crime is awful in DC -- it's worse than it was in Boston, it's worse than it was in Oakland, and it's even worse than it was in Chicago -- and I can't imagine how it will ever get any better.

Feb 15, 2009, 11:56:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 10:18
I'm sorry to hear that.
What time were you attacked at 13th and Maryland? I live nearby and just like to know when these incidents happen so I can "use caution" in my comings and goings. I try not be out alone at night but sometimes it's necessary.

Feb 15, 2009, 1:29:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even if everything anon 11:56 says is true, there's probably still value in reporting...higher statistics might get more resources assigned in the area.

Feb 15, 2009, 2:38:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 2:38 -- I agree completely, and that's why in my first paragraph I said "I would report it if I got mugged, because at least it'll make the city's crime statistics more accurate."

Feb 15, 2009, 2:43:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These are horrible events. But annecdotes aside, crime in Chicago is just as bad as here. And yes, a lot of violent crime goes upreported there as well.

Feb 15, 2009, 3:44:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oakland as well.

Feb 15, 2009, 3:44:00 PM

 
Blogger inked said...

Yeah, please do report. It not only helps the stats, but cops can look at patterns for similar robberies. Sometimes that might even end in confessions and closed cases [I've seen situations where some kids were caught on one thing and as the group caved they copped to many car jackings, some stick-ups, and a few other offenses]. In this way police may closed many cases at once. If you don't report it there is zero chance of a closure and you have only yourself to blame for that fact. You should even report thefts [not just robberies and home invasions]. The chance of recovering your items is slim, but it helps the rest of us.

Feb 15, 2009, 6:38:00 PM

 
Anonymous romaine Bostick said...

and keep in mind the police often can't or won't step up patrols in a certain area unless they have evidence of an increase or pattern of crimes. remember you're dealing with a bureaucracy that has to document reasons for doing what they do. report everything. no matter how minor.

Feb 15, 2009, 8:00:00 PM

 
Blogger soul searcher said...

random question: what is a private citizens' authority to detain someone suspected of a crime? because if the muggers actually tried to enter the rock-and-roll hotel to do *more* harm to the man they victimized and they were only "scared off", i'd think that response is not good enough unless somehow there is no such thing as a "citizens arrest".

Feb 16, 2009, 12:28:00 AM

 
Blogger soul searcher said...

i reported one car break-in (smashed in window, nothing taken). the officer acted like it was a hassle to even make a report on it. sigh.

Feb 16, 2009, 12:29:00 AM

 
Anonymous Boo in Brookland said...

I was mugged by two young hoodlums last Monday. I was carrying groceries home around 6 p.m; I had passed them on the way from the Metro, and they must've turned and followed me for two blocks. They came up from behind and put me in a headlock/stranglehold, pushed me up an alleyway, and began hitting. Soon they knocked me down and took my belongings. I ran home and immediately called the police, but they had already dispersed into... well, wherever.

Talking to a roommate later that night, he informed me that this was the third attempted mugging he'd heard about in a six block radius in a week. The "kids" loitering in the Metro area at dusk are just picking prey -- for fun. I had been under the impression that Brookland was a preternaturally safe area for D.C., but now I see crime and violence in every face, shadow, and sound.

The police were responsive, but what can they do? It turns out that the mini-thugs managed to use one of my credit cards before the bank shut it down, to the tune of $450 buying athletic shoes, jewelry, Metro passes, and McDonalds. I'd like to think that b/c those transactions must be caught on camera, the cops will have some traction to go on, but I'm not optimistic.

And now: mace, a tactical flashlight, and walking home paranoid with fear.

Feb 16, 2009, 9:43:00 AM

 
Anonymous JJ said...

Boo,

Sorry for your experience. It seems all the stories on this thread more or less describe the same pattern -- i.e., young roving bands of boys/men in the area who are looking to mug or break in to your house/car all for money and kicks.

I will say that, from personal experience, IT IS NOT a waste of time to report the crime. More often than not these muggings occur within a localized area and are committed by the same individuals over and over again. If people report the mugging, the cops will see the spike in muggings and will target the area
where the muggings occurred.

A few months ago a group of guys were smashing car windows on an adjacent block and taking whatever they could out of the cars they hit. Enough people reported the incidents that the cops put extra patrols close to the street. Long story short, the bad guys "went back to the well" and tried to hit another car on the block -- only this time one of the neighbors saw them, called police and the cops were there in less than one minute. They caught one guy while he was still in the car (I'd like to think he was blinking like a deer in headlights when they showed up) and the other a few blocks away (he took off running but a bike cop ran him down).

I was there at the scene shortly after they took the guys into custody and you could tell that the cops were very pleased to get these guys. So, trust me, they are motivated to get these guys but they need our help so they can figure out how to best deploy their forces.

As far as your credit card fraud, you are correct that a lot of places have video surv. now -- so its highly probable that these guys got caught on tape using your credit card. Credit card fraud in most jurisdictions is a felony (meaning instant jail sentence if convicted). If you want some justice on these guys, I would call the stores where they used your credit card, explain the situation and ask if they can pull their video. Then I would call the credit card company's anti-fraud department and ask them to get involved (if you have video of the incident they will most likely be motivated to get involved). Ask the credit card company to call the DC police officer assigned and have them put some pressure on.

Don't be a victim, be a citizen.

Feb 16, 2009, 10:25:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In DC, mace is illegal unless registered with the police like a handgun/shotgun/rifle.

(It's for your safety!) [/sarcasm]

Feb 16, 2009, 10:36:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmmm.1st District Commander Kamperin says that this mugging,and the robbery last week in the 1300 block of Maryland are not related. I don't know how he came to that conclusion, but he did. He also says violent crime is down. feel better?

Feb 16, 2009, 1:48:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 3:44s: If you have statistics saying that the per-capita rates of street crime are just as bad in Oakland and Chicago as they are in D.C., I certainly can't argue with you; I have no statistics saying otherwise.

All I can say is that when I lived in Chicago in the mid-90s, on the edge of the Austin neighborhood, and when I lived in Oakland in the mid-80s, I didn't know anyone who had been mugged. Here in D.C., it sometimes seems like I know more people that have been robbed than haven't. Yeah, I know, it's anecdotal evidence and thus of little value. But it's hard to dismiss your friends' experiences when you're planning your evening, you know?

Feb 16, 2009, 2:26:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 11:56 has it right. How many times have you seen minor crimes (traffic, for example) take place right in front of a police car and nothing happens. The police in this city seem to be mismanaged and don't seem to care. I've seem on duty police in bars, at parties in people's homes and even drive from one part of the city to another to pick up a friend and give them a ride. This is unacceptable behavior that will not change until we hold our elected officials accountable.

Feb 16, 2009, 3:01:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My wife and I moved to the H Street NE area from Brooklyn. We have noticed a difference here in the manner that the communities are policed that we believe leads to more crimes here than occurred in our prior Brooklyn neighborhoods, namely the lack of police presence. Note: I am not saying crimes do not occur in Brooklyn, because obviously they do; I'm just relaying the differences we have noticed. In Brooklyn, we (and presumably the criminals) always knew the police were close by even if not seen. Unless you did something stupid (e.g., go down questionable streets alone) you felt relatively safe. Not so here. We definitely do not feel the police are close by even if not seen (and presumably the criminals feel the same way). You seldom see cops on foot here. You randomly see cop cars driving by with blinking lights (easy to spot from blocks away). Nothing against the police here, but it appears to be reactionary policing here than preventative/deterrent policing. I definitely believe they'll show up quickly if you call, but a crime has to happen first for that to happen. Without cops on the street, what deterrent is there from criminals mugging anyone walking down a major commercial street (even early in the morning) and then taking their time to track that person down if they escape? Apparently none. Crazy stuff. Shouldn't happen with the tax dollars we pay here (same as NY).

Feb 16, 2009, 5:24:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DC is no more violent than Chicago or Oakland:
http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/data/table_08.html

Feb 16, 2009, 11:37:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 11:37pm -- Huh? Did you look at the numbers in the link you provide? The stats present in the FBI Uniform Crime Reports 2007 statistics you pointed to indicate DC had a 24% higher per capita mugging rate, and almost twice the per capita murder rate, than Chicago that year.

OTOH, they do indicate that the murder rate for Oakland is about the same as DC's, and the mugging rate there is higher (DC's rate is 77% that of Oakland, or alternately Oakland's rate is 29% higher than DC's).

So the message would appear to be that Oakland is more violent than DC, which in turn is more violent than Chicago.

Feb 17, 2009, 3:29:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looking at it, it seems the per capita robbery and agrivated assault in DC and Chicago is about the same. Chicago doesn't report violent crimes (?!)

Feb 17, 2009, 10:18:00 AM

 
Blogger Simon said...

I was mugged in September at 4.30pm on F Street NE at 13th.

I was probably targeted since I was wearing professional clothes and had my hands occupied with shopping in one hand and dry-cleaning in the other.

Three young men jumped me from behind. One put his arm around my neck from behind and yanked me to the ground.

To my surprise, I actually had the presence of mind to start immediately yelling "Police!" I also gave the muggers my "decoy wallet" that only contains a couple of dollar bills and old credit cards with the signature scratched off and the name and number partially cut out.

I was lucky and escaped virtually unscathed.

This assault and robbery happened in broad daylight with three witnesses just across the street.

I called the police and gave them a full report. I also posted it on a couple of local listservs where my neighbors are tracking local crimes and actively lobbying for greater police presence.

Because the "decoy wallet" angle, local radio, TV, and print journalists who follow local blogs did stories along the lines of "local resident fools muggers."

I would recommend that people consider carrying a "decoy wallet." In my - albeit limited - experience, once you hand it over, the muggers take it and run away too fast to even look inside it.

That gives you the opportunity to run in the other direction and find help. You also won't lose anything of value.

I also completely concur that people should report all incidents to the police. I have witnessed a greater police presence in our neighborhood through our diligent reporting and direct lobbying of council members, ANC commissioners, and area police commanders.

Feb 17, 2009, 10:22:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 2/16, 10:36 am: while it's true that Mace and similar products need to be registered with the police, the registration forms are the responsibility of the vendor, not the purchaser. If you buy Mace and the vendor doesn't send a registration form to MPD, or even ask you for the information required for the form, you're still legally in the clear. Although I wouldn't want to bet the farm on MPD knowing that.

Feb 17, 2009, 10:44:00 AM

 
Anonymous grebe said...

The reason Brooklyn is "safer" than H St, is that it's further along in its arc of gentrification than H St. The Logan Circle area would be a more fair comparison to Brooklyn.

There's no question whatsoever that the immediate area is safer than it was 5 years ago, by every measure: objective and subjective. And the area then was much, much safer then than it was 10-15 years ago.

So the question is not whether it's safe, but whether it's getting safer. On the whole, there's no question about that.

Pretty much every dysfunction DC is famous for--from the foster care system, to the schools, to public safety--exists for no other reason than that the institutions are crushed under the weight of DC's poverty problem. Everything else is a red herring.

Until DC's economic (not racial) profile is in line with that of the other regional municipalities, the problems aren't going anywhere.

Feb 17, 2009, 11:13:00 AM

 
Anonymous lou said...

I'm going to chime in and urge people to report the crimes. Even if your particular case doesn't get solved, the police do use it for tracking patterns. I monitor what's going on on the MPD-1 listserv and the cops are constantly begging people to report crimes so they can keep track of them. A group of thugs were arrested recently in the Potomac Ave area because people reported it.

Feb 17, 2009, 11:30:00 AM

 
Anonymous lou said...

PS on comparing DC to Brooklyn. I don't know when you lived in Brooklyn, but crime in cities across the country dropped precipitously during the 90s because of the federal community policing program. That got axed after 9-11 and crime has been creeping up since.

Feb 17, 2009, 11:32:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grebe and Lou, I lived in BedSty in the late 90s pre-gentrification. I saw police on Fulton Street much, much more than I see police here now on H Street NE. While I wholeheartedly agree that economics plays a substantial role in the increase/decrease of crimes, my point was that policing policies do as well. Lou might have hit in on the button. In any event, cops on foot instead of in passing cars with blinking warning lights will likely decrease crime in the areas under foot patrol.
--Anon. 5:24

Feb 17, 2009, 11:57:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 10:18AM -- From the UCR Tables, in 2007, DC reported 3,985 robberies for a population of 588,292 people. The reported population for Chicago in the Tables is 2,824,434. A quick bit of arithmetic shows that Chicago should have had 19,132 robberies that year if they occured at the same per-capita rate as DC. Chicago is reported in the Tables as having had 15,425 robberies that year. That means a 24% higher per capita rate than D.C.

The "Violent Crimes" number in the table is just the sum of the four columns to the right that refer to specific violent crimes (murder, rape, robbery and assault); you can check this for yourself with the DC numbers. Chicago doesn't have a number listed for "Violent Crimes" because they didn't report a figure for one of the four columns, "Forcible Rape" -- the FBI can't add the four numbers together if they don't know what one of them is.

Feb 17, 2009, 12:06:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As someone born and raised in DC, grebe is right. Logan Circle was crime infested in the early 1990's, and look at it now. Just in my 6 years living near H St., things have improved dramatically. That being said, we need more foot patrols.

Feb 17, 2009, 1:07:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The elephant in the room that everyone wants to dance around is what can be done to make these young black males value their lives and the lives of others more? Even JJ 10:35 said, "...young roving bands of boys/men in the area who are looking to mug or break in to your house/car all for money and kicks." - no reference to their common race because everyone wants to be politically correct. No one wants to address their blackness here, but if anyone can tell me that just one of these perpetrators was white then you can call me a racisit. If they are all black (which most likely they are) then we need to look at the causal factors that's making these young black men so damn angry. Is anything really ever going to get better as long as we're afraid to recognize the common factor here?

Feb 17, 2009, 1:27:00 PM

 
Anonymous grebe said...

"If they are all black (which most likely they are) then we need to look at the causal factors that's making these young black men so damn angry."

This has nothing to do with "angry young black boys" and everything to do with poverty.


...you can call me a racisit....

Let's just say that the idea that somehow the goals and motivations of black youth are intrinsically impenetrable, and that they're radically different from those of any other group's has a long and checkered history, and leave it at that.

Poor kids who are raised in a lead-filled environment in abject poverty by those who were raised in abject poverty themselves tend to have a bad time of it, especially when every other family in your community has the exact same background.

It ain't rocket science.

Feb 17, 2009, 2:38:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon. 1:27, You put the elephant in this room. The causes are likely those already discussed here, economics and poor deterrents. These are the same causes that result in young men in DC, NY, Chicago, Maine, Iowa, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, Tokyo, you name it, committing crimes regardless of their race. I don't believe crime is committed by one race and I'm not sure why it has to be discussed as if it is. Schools need to improve, family situations need to improve and job opportunities need to improve, among other things that would make this and other communities more safe. Until those improvements can be made, I would love to see more foot patrols as a way to deter crime in and around H Street NE.
Anon. 5:24

Feb 17, 2009, 2:41:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, there is no crime in Tokyo.

Feb 17, 2009, 2:49:00 PM

 
Anonymous JJ said...

Anon. 1:27,

I did not mention race b/c I honestly don't know the race of the people who were attacking/attacked. Unlike you, I'd rather state what I know, rather than what I presume to know.

Please do not twist my statements to make your arguments for you.
Before you showed up with your assumptions about what everyone else was *really* thinking (how offensive is that?), the discussion on this thread was how to improve community policing not how to improve education or race issues.

Personally, I'm sick and tired of anonymous posters on this board trying to inject race politics into every discussion.

It amazes me that you accuse everyone else on this board of "being afraid" to face the race issue, yet you don't even have the guts to identify yourself.

Feb 17, 2009, 3:04:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem as I see it is that, for whatever reason (poverty, culture, society-- NOT race, mind you), the people who commit violent crimes have been "stunted" in their development, never really getting past the point of being "children" regardless of their age.

This fact is evidenced in things as seemingly trival as the trash on our sidewalks and obsenity and yelling across the street and out of their cars, to the notion that you can simply go out and beat people up and take what you want from them.

Now, for all the reasons this may be the case, and there are many, that's cold comfort for anyone who's been the victim of a violent crime and, as a young professional white person (read: a target), I am certainly not going to be whining about the plight of the poor blacks in our community as one breaks my jaw to take $20 out of my wallet and a phone and credit cards they won't be able to use after a day. Or worse, when one of them injuries someone I care about.

So I think we have every right to demand more attention be paid by the police to this neighborhood as, based on the track records of 14th street and Columbia Heights before us, upticks in muggings etc., are a sure byproduct of gentrification.

Feb 17, 2009, 3:15:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"to the notion that you can simply go out and beat people up and take what you want from them."

You say that like it's a BAD thing! Come on, it's just 'wealth redistribution' but without all the inefficient government overhead!

Feb 17, 2009, 4:18:00 PM

 
Anonymous grebe said...

It's just 'wealth redistribution' but without all the inefficient government overhead!

Wait--I'm getting confused--is this the previous race-baiting anon, or a different anon altogether?

Help us out, folks!

Feb 17, 2009, 4:20:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree completely with Grebe 2:38, "Poor kids who are raised in a lead-filled environment in abject poverty by those who were raised in abject poverty themselves...." blah, blah, blah. But why are people so often afraid to look at the disproportionate numbers of blacks in poverty, in prison, on drugs, committing crimes, etc in the first place? It's not racist to point out these facts, its racists to ignore them in the name of political correctness - but who am I to say? Maybe I just suffer from too much "White guilt", but its more than what some have.

JJ said, "I did not mention race b/c I honestly don't know the race of the people who were attacking/attacked." JJ, I have no idea if you are black or white (or yellow), but do you think we honestly believe for one minute when you close your eyes that you pictured anything but young black males committing those crimes. I bet everyone one here (including African Americans) pictures young black men creating these crimes. My only point is that nothing is going to change until we ask ourselves why this ongoing cycle of problems with poverty stricken black men continues? Or you can keep sticking your head in the sand.

Feb 17, 2009, 4:30:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some anonymous comments just bring people together in solidarity. I appreciate people's honesty whether I agree with them or not. And some people take other people's opinions way too serious.

Feb 17, 2009, 4:39:00 PM

 
Anonymous JJ said...

"Some anonymous comments just bring people together in solidarity."

What a bunch of B.S.

Do us all a favor and troll some other board, anonymous.

Feb 17, 2009, 4:58:00 PM

 
Blogger James said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Feb 17, 2009, 5:04:00 PM

 
Blogger James said...

Delete Comment From: Frozen Tropics


James said...
While I agree that there's just no chance these muggers are (in our neighborhood) anything other than young, black males, I don't know that you have to figure out what's 'wrong with black people' per se, other than to just acknoweldge that they've had the longest exposure to a poverty cycle in this country.

The people in our neighborhood who are committing those crimes are, statistically, going to be uneducated, come from broken homes, have had early exposure to drugs and violence, and don't see any real future for themselves and, therefore, any real stake at joining society.

I suspect we'd have problems like this if we were surrounded by poor whites in the midwest, or poor latinos in, well, Columbia Heights (although fear of deporation is a greater deterrent than fear of jail).

My point is that, frankly, I don't care about the sociological "reasons" for the violence in the context of this discussion, or if blacks are somehow more likely to be committing them thatn other races. Its enough to know it's going to happen, these kids are the ones doing it and, aside from "please take care" the only concrete thing we can do about it that would have any immediate effect is to get a more noticable police presence in our neighborhood

Feb 17, 2009, 5:08:00 PM

 
Anonymous grebe said...

But why are people so often afraid to look at the disproportionate numbers of blacks in poverty, in prison, on drugs, committing crimes, etc in the first place?

They aren't. That's the whole point. It's just that those that "look at it" for any length of time come to the conclusion that poverty is self-perpetuating. Combine this with the legal and de facto historic ghettoization of black people in American society (from the 15th century until, what, thirty years ago?) and you've got your answer.

Clearly that's not the answer you want, but there you are. There's not a single ethnic group in America that has been systematically oppressed so brutally and for so long, but y'know, time to get over it.

This "elephant in the room" bullshit is enough to piss me off, and I'm a politically moderate middle-class white guy who thinks anyone who violently assaults another without provocation should be exiled to a penal island somewhere until they're forty. Fuck that individual person; they've forfeited their right to live in civilized society.

Still, the "What is it about The Blacks that make them so violent" demonstrates a depth of ignorance so profound, I'm not really sure there's any answer to it.

Feb 17, 2009, 5:13:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Wait--I'm getting confused--is this the previous race-baiting anon, or a different anon altogether?"

Anon 4:18 is a different, non-race baiting, Anon. Notice, please, for the record, I didn't mention race at all. So if that connection is being made, it's being made in the mind of the reader...

I was just providing sarcastic social commentary... To Wit: when large segments of the population (demographics irrelevant) are conditioned to having things handed to them rather than working for them, you shouldn't be surprised when they decide to bypass the middle man and just start taking right from the source...

Feb 17, 2009, 5:45:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Black, white, Latino... bored teenagers with nothing to do and no parental structure that knows where they are after school (or at midnight for that matter) get into trouble. I understand parents have to work hard (I'm one of them), but if you choose to have kids you must be held reasponsible. Also, there's no such thing as privacy on public streets; more cameras like London, and yes, lots more cops. I know this won't sure everything, but one look at NYC and you can see how things improve.

Feb 17, 2009, 7:05:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People should also take into account whose kids we're talking about. Overwhelmingly these are the children of people who have poor impulse control and typically have a low regard for society's rules and norms...who then go on to have kids who have the same predisposition and so on, and at 16-22 year intervals.

Basically, as long as out of wedlock birth occurs at extremely high frequency amongst a population that is already more likely to cause trouble, only stuff like a more active police presence and long jail sentences that keep these kids out of the population and prevents the opportunity to reproduce will have any effect.

Realist

Feb 17, 2009, 7:38:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Until law abiding citizens of the District of Columbia are allowed to carry concealed handguns, this problem will continue. I wonder how many of these criminals would still commit robberies and muggings when one of them gets their head blown off by a brave citizen who has had enough. Have that happen like two times and the crime rate would drop.

Feb 18, 2009, 12:00:00 AM

 
Blogger Hillman said...

Wowsa, this became esoteric pretty quickly.

While I would say exposure to drugs, parental neglect, etc., is most certainly a factor, I think blithely saying it is poverty isn't really accurate.

"Poverty" is relative, in that many of these 'underprivileged' kids in DC have FAR more than most of the kids in the rest of the world. We are measuring their poverty against the stunning and unprecedented affluence of the US as a whole.

By world standards you are not poor if you have a decent housing option, food, clean water, electricity, etc.

Almost all of these kids have that, and then some. They have access to a world-class city, with all it's opportunities.

Most of these kids have television, decent clothes, cell phones, video games, etc.

That is not poverty.

My family grew up in real poverty, in rural Appalachia. You want to see real poverty, with very limited opportunity? I can show you that. And DC ain't it.

It isn't racial.

It's cultural. And a political movement gone callously wrong.

In DC, there is a culture that says it's ok to bash people over the head for $10. That it's acceptable to do nothing but hang on the streetcorner all your life, while taxpayer suckers pay for your every necessity. And what isn't paid for by taxpayers, it's acceptable to obtain by other means, including violence.

It isn't specific to economic situation. Plenty of kids in DC housing projects end up living very productive lives.

Lest we forget, the DC area has a thriving black middle class.

But we are afraid to confront the cultural problem in DC itself, in large part because it is manifested most obviously in DC by blacks.

And race-baiting individuals in the black community have made it a racial and political issue. White people, regardless of background, can't address cultural issues in DC. We aren't allowed to without being accused of being racist.

All this, to protect the political power status quo.

I have absolutely no problem saying that my Appalachian subculture (almost exclusively white) produced very real problems, some quite similar to what we see in DC, minus most of the casual violence. Mostly it was nonviolent toward strangers (violence amongst family members was more common). I'd suggest that was probably because in a rural society if you bash someone unrelated to you over the head everyone in town knows it was you that did it, and someone else will beat you senseless in retaliation.

And actually trying to rob someone in rural Appalachia or small towns generally may result in you getting shot in the head. That's a fairly huge deterrent.

And the police departments in rural areas will actually investigate crimes. Unlike DC, where we are conditioned to accept crime as being part of the 'culture' and we our police department in particular accept crime as the acceptable norm.

Again, it wasn't poverty. Some in our community did fine economically. But they adhered to the same subculture values of sneering at education or self-improvement, a disrespect for those not like themselves, a victim mentality, feeling that somehow someone owed us something, etc.

Until we are willing to confront the 'thuggery is cool / work is uncool' culture, the 'blame everyone else' mantra, and the underlying detrimental effects of choosing to live on welfare rather than working for a living, we will have these problems.

I have some hope in some of the rhetoric coming from many of the younger generation of black political leaders. They are suggesting that personal responsibility actually has value, that the victim mentality is detrimental, etc.

And many in the black community are fighting very hard to change the culture. They've been fighting this fight for a very long time.

As for crime rates in DC, this website is pretty useful.

http://www.areaconnect.com/crime/compare.htm

It would appear that DC has a lot more street crime (robbery/assault/theft/auto theft) than many other US cities.

Anecdotally, nearly everyone I know that has lived in other US cities (NY, Boston, SF, etc.) say they are astonished at the casual street crime in DC, and how we accept it as 'part of living in the city'.

If it makes us feel any better, Baltimore has worse rates than us.

Thank God for Baltimore.

Feb 18, 2009, 1:29:00 AM

 
Anonymous ibc said...

My family grew up in real poverty, in rural Appalachia. You want to see real poverty, with very limited opportunity? I can show you that. And DC ain't it.

Pffft.

*I* grew up in rural Gabon; we would have killed to grow up in rural Appalachia. "Limited opportunity" you say? How quaint.

Wait a second! It's almost as if it's the *relative* poverty that's important, instead of talking in absolutes. Hmmm.

Feb 18, 2009, 9:00:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GREAT comments, Hillman!!!

Feb 18, 2009, 9:58:00 AM

 
Blogger Hillman said...

"*I* grew up in rural Gabon; we would have killed to grow up in rural Appalachia. "Limited opportunity" you say? How quaint."

Sons of beetches.

I can't beat that one.

Anyone care to up the ante and beat rural Gabon?

Feb 18, 2009, 10:09:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was mugged by two guys coming up behind me in broad daylight a few months ago. It was about 5:30 p.m. and I was walking home after work by the same route from the Metro I always do. They came from behind and just started wailing on me. This happened about 2 blocks from 8th & H.

So be please careful, even in cases where it's not in the wee hours.

Feb 18, 2009, 10:25:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So my "Elephant in the room" race baiting has spurred the much more intelligent and productive conversation that I was hoping we would have.... Thank you Grebe 5:13pm for your history lesson. I couldn't have stated it better myself and agree whole-heartedly with your comments. I think your comments are right on and help to explain how we got to this point. And Hillman 1:29 am, thank you for your informed reflections. I think your comments are honest and can represent the future for doing something about it.

Unfortunately there are still comments out there like:

"Overwhelmingly these are the children of people who have poor impulse control."

"As long as out of wedlock birth occurs at extremely high frequency amongst a population that is already more likely to cause trouble."

"Until law abiding citizens of the District of Columbia are allowed to carry concealed handguns, this problem will continue."

But maybe they're doing their own type of racebaiting. In addition to looking at the history of racisim and black anger and poverty in the inner city. It might be good to compasionately figure out why some white people (like those quoted above) feel the way they do as well.

-Anonymous Coward

Feb 18, 2009, 10:43:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever noticed that the race discussions are often the longest chains with the most heated discussions? Inked, if I'm wrong, please let me know. And then we pretend that we don't like these discussions. I believe the evidence speaks for itself. We know its a root to our neighborhood problems, we're emotional about it, and we want to do something about it. Unfortunatly, I bet the majority of the people on here only vent about it here. At least I nod when I pass a black person, that's a start... and a joke.

Feb 18, 2009, 10:51:00 AM

 
Blogger Hillman said...

I'm not sure I'd equate being in favor of handgun ownership with race-baiting.

I know a fair number of people of all races that have given up on DC police's willingness or ability to protect citizens and are now embracing the concept of gun ownership.

As they say, a liberal mugged and all.....

Feb 18, 2009, 1:15:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Point well taken Hillman. I just assumed that those law abiding citizens out there who were pro handguns ownership were automatically white, Republican racists. I guess stereotypes go both ways. My bad.

Feb 18, 2009, 2:30:00 PM

 
Blogger inked said...

Guys,
I'm glad that we are talking beyond the actual crime. But I wish we could focus our efforts on the immediate area, not just political views. One guy's jaw was broken for no reason. Another person was stabbed in the cheek. I'm mostly concerned with preventing future crimes in the area. I know that police are pretty visible on H Street most of the time. That's terrific, but maybe they need to shift some patrols to the hours that bars/taverns/restaurants actually close around here. Sometimes that is after the Metro closes. I'd also like to see area bars/restaurants/taverns/wine bars post the numbers for major cab companies in the bathroom. Police and such steps can't prevent all crime, but perhaps they can help. Also [at night]-

1. Avoid walking alone late at night
2. Avoid walking alone when intoxicated
3. Don't walk use your cell phone while walking
4. Don't walk on the dark side of the street [stick to where businesses are open whenever possible].
5. Walk with purpose at night, don't just stroll
6. If someone appears to be following you, go into a business and seek help.
7. If you are being mugged, just give up your money/wallet. This changes if you are being forced into an isolated area like an alley [especially if you are female, but fr anyone if you have already given up the goods]. If you are mugged immediately offer your money/wallet so as to avoid being taken to an alley, or assaulted. Ask the mugger to please take it there and not take you to the isolate space. The money you might have on you is not worth the medical bills, time away from work, or emotional cost. Credit cards can be easily canceled. Laptops and cells phones can also be replaced. It sucks, but it happens. Save yourself, not your belongings. And then report the event. As someone recently said, be a citizen, not a victim.

Feb 18, 2009, 3:19:00 PM

 
Blogger inked said...

I missposted something a second ago. Everyone should immediately give up their money/credit cards/ect. if they are mugged. If you are being forced into an isolated area after giving up your goods you should scream and resist. I say this because once they have all of your money and stuff there is no non-alarming reason for them to force you into that alley, and you need to avoid that alley/isolated space/random car. So, at that point you fight. There are various groups in DC that offer self-defense classes to both men and women of all ages. Assaults that follow the scenario I've described above [non-robbery assault by a stranger, or post-robbery] are VERY rare everywhere, but they do happen.

Feb 18, 2009, 3:30:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Inked, you run a fine site, and your advice up to and including point #6 is fine, but #7 is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Yes, that's what the police, and your betters in gov't will tell you, but it's wrong. That such wrong headed ideas are so prevalent in DC is WHY crime is out of hand.

Providing the mutants with cooperative victims is not the answer. It merely emboldens the criminals. Just because you 'reason' that giving them what they want will make them leave you alone doesn't mean they are even capable of reasoning on that level. They will hurt you just for the pure psychotic joy of hearing you scream and the feeling of power it gives them - and this is NOT rare. (They don't have any other power in their lives, the gov't has it all since they are completely dependent on same). They are sociopaths with no concept of right and wrong. They are predators. Your well being means nothing to them. Your life means nothing to them.

People: be prepared to defend yourself. The police cannot be everywhere all the time. Seriously, you've never wondered why there are no foot patrols any more. Do people today even know what a 'beat cop' is? They are too busy driving their climate controlled cars back and forth between the 7-11s and the nudie bars.

In the parlance of the times: Be Positive and Be Proactive.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade...

When life gives you thieves/muggers/rapists, make corpses...

Feb 18, 2009, 7:07:00 PM

 
Anonymous grebe said...

When life gives you thieves/muggers/rapists, make corpses...

You must play a lot of video games...

Feb 19, 2009, 9:55:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7:07 - you forgot "And talking on cell phones"

Feb 19, 2009, 10:08:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Inked, I'm curious. You've been doing this for a long time now, do you have a general impression of what your longest threads tend to be about?

Feb 19, 2009, 10:11:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For real, I'm amazed at how many times I see cops driving around in their cars while talking on non-hands free cellphones. So much for that law. Back to my early point and to beat a dead horse, we knew what beat cops were in Brooklyn (tragically sometimes the "beat" didn't just refer to cops on foot). Absolutely no reason we can't have more cops on foot here. Just need a change of policing policy or at least taking the keys away from a group of cops and dropping them off on a corner on H Street NE. While cops can't be everywhere they can certainly be around more often on the ground in areas that are well traveled by citizens on foot.
Anon. 5:24

Feb 19, 2009, 10:39:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was the one who posted the comment that law abiding citizens should be allowed carry concealed weapons and am more than a little insulted that someone would label me as a race baiter. I grew up in DC most of my friends are black. The line law abiding citizens has nothing to do with race, sex, religion, or sexual orientation for your information. My point is that if I can't depend on the police to protect me, why shouldn't I be able to protect myself.

Feb 19, 2009, 2:28:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...most of my friends are black."

If you have the need to use the phrase "I have black friends" as an indication that your are not a racist, then you still have some work to do my friend -- as we all do. I have black friends too and I'm still a recovering racist.

If you really want to do something about it, tell people that you are a racist and that you will "mess up" in saying something at some point. You'll be amazed at how freeing it is to admit it and how appreciative the other person will be for your honesty.

Feb 20, 2009, 10:26:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How ignorant? Racism is defined as "the notion that one's own ethnic stock is superior." that doesn't mean you can't befriend individuals and still be racist agaisnt their race as a whole.

Feb 20, 2009, 2:55:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In addition, what is largely attributed by race-baiters as "racism" is mostly related to "culture". And there is a difference.

You are an idiot if you think there is any inherent superiority as between races. Differences? Definietly. But nothing to give any credence to truly racist thoughts.

However, there are HUGE problems in every culture (which can be, and often is, divided on racial lines) which are completely worthy of discussion.

To wit: This crime and violence discussion. No one is suggesting (at least I hope not) that there is any true "racial" component to it. But to suggest that there is a huge cultural failing that is at least PARTLY to blame (along with upbringing, inherited poverty and other socio-enomic factors) is not to implicate race.

However, some people are quick to look at anything that even mildy whiffs of race and cry racism and, therefore, effectively stop the discussion right there.

My hope is that the original "race-baiter / elephant in the room" guy/girl was merely trying to bring up the possiblity that there were CULTURAL issues at play here that are often overlooked for the very fact that they are wrongly mixed up with ideas of race. And, if that was his/her intent, then, actually, this discussion has proven his or her point.

However, if that person WAS actually suggesting that there is any racial component to why black kids are mugging people in this neighborhood...well...by all means, flame away.

Feb 20, 2009, 3:05:00 PM

 
Blogger Hillman said...

I don't see black and white. I see only people.

No, wait. That's not it.

I don't see people. I see only attractive people.

There. That's better.

Feb 20, 2009, 6:49:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha ha Hillman, we can always (well, usually) count on you to break the tension.

I'm still curios to know from Inked what she has found to be the longes threads of discussion to be about? I'd just like to know what most of the people on this blog find the most interest in discussing? I mean do race relations discussions usually create more buzz than what's playing at the Atlas?

Feb 21, 2009, 1:50:00 PM

 
Blogger inked said...

Re: the longest threads question, it depends. Sometimes it's stuff where race comes up, sometimes it's stuff about a new bar, or sometimes things about transportation. It really varies.

Feb 23, 2009, 2:42:00 PM

 

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