Monday, October 24, 2005

Sunday Night Mugging at Vermont & Q

From one of our neighbors:

To all --

I'd like to share a personal experience about the criminal activity in our neighborhood. Last night at 11pm, my wife and I walked our dog around the block just north of Logan Circle, bounded by Vermont, Q St. and 13th St. As we walked from Vermont to 13th on Q, we noticed a couple of young men in different places -- a young black male near the NW corner of 13th and Q was talking on a cell phone and standing away from the corner in a less lighted place, and another black male on the east side of 13th St.

Neither one approached us or did anything that was actually objectionable, but they didn't seem like the ordinary passers-by that we see all the time. We believe the second man could tell that my wife had a cell phone in her hands. The big dog was also obvious. We turned on 13th St. and were walking around to the Vermont side of our building when we heard loud yelling from farther up Vermont. I walked out to the sidewalk and looked down to the corner of Vermont and Q, where I saw a man on the ground yelling and squirming violently.

There was a black male standing over him and pointing a gun at him. We called 911 immediately with our cell phone. Within a couple of seconds, though, the mugger ran away up Vermont St. and the victim got up and ran toward 13th. By now a few of our neighbors were coming out of buildings after hearing the yelling. One neighbor had seen the whole incident from a window, and said the mugger had chased the victim, who was yelling and weaving as he ran, for over a block. The victim appeared to trip at the corner of Vermont and Q, which is where I saw him on the ground.

The MPD arrived very quickly after our 911 call but the perpetrator(s) had already run away. After getting a description from us and others, including the victim, they left to look for the mugger. The victim confirmed the mugger had held a gun on him. Other police cars arrived shortly as well as a plain clothes detective in an unmarked car. The police stopped someone fitting the loose description of one of the perpetrators a few blocks away but neither the victim nor I could positively identify him as the culprit.

Here are some suggestions the police gave us to help them catch perpetrators of these crimes, along with a couple of my own:
  1. One of the officers said that, if you see someone standing around or looking suspicious, call the police immediately so that they can send a car to check the person out, even if the person hasn't done anything overtly objectionable.
  2. Keep a cell phone in hand and turned on. Call 311 to report suspicious activity, or 911 if an emergency is actually in progress.
  3. Get as much of a description of the suspicious person(s) as you can -- age, build, color and style of clothing, etc.
  4. Stay on main thoroughfares as much as possible, especially after dark.


Albert said...

last night at around 1030pm, i may have been followed by a car while on my bike heading up vermont towards U (it must have been between T&U heading north on vermont). it was a beat up old light blue station wagon with 3 young men in it. my first reaction when i noticed them slow down behind me was- uhoh. something about it wasnt right. as i contemplated how to respond,they sped up and passed me. i dont know if it's related. but if you think
it's worthwhile, i can get contact the responding officers from last
night and let them know (if you could pass along the contact info...)...

Paul said...

Thanks for the update. It serves to remind us all of the importance of the community's possession of the streets. The fact that you were there walking your dog, the fact that the neighbors were watching, this is what thwarted this crime and will eventually lead to arrests. I hope that people won't start avoiding the streets at night because of our little crime wave. This would just embolden the criminals and lead to even more crime.

Just my two cents.

resident of 1207 N St. said...

I agree with Paul.

The more concerned, observant residents there are actively walking around the neighborhood and telling the police what they see, the more likely it is that criminals will decide it's not worth the effort and keep on moving.

We can greatly improve our neighborhood if we all watch each other's backs as much as possible.

Elena said...

Thanks for sharing this experience. These incidents and the fear of similar ones makes living in this neighborhood an ever increasing challenge. I want to know why we cannot get the POLICE to PATROL THE STREETS ON A REGULAR BASIS, like they do in Georgetown, for instance. While it helps to know how best to protect oneself in the case of an emergency, I am convinced that there would be fewer such suspicious roaming about and less crime if there was a significant and viable police presence in the neighborhood.

Don't we pay enough taxes to justify this service?

Anonymous said...

Has anybody thought about contacting the local news to do a report on this. This might peek the interest of the Mayor's office then.

Chris K said...

We have been sending regular reports to the media including links to this site.

I'm not sure why they are not following this, but given all of the actions performed by the community, you would think this would generate human interest.

In terms of local publications, I commend The Dupont Current for writing on the issue of public safety in Logan Circle as their top editorial in last week's edition.