Category Archives: Crime

Ward 5 Councilmember McDuffy To Host Safety Summit Monday

We received the message and flyer below about a safety summit coming up this Monday, hosted by our Ward 5 Councilmember. While I appreciate these types of meetings, after attending so many of them, I am starting to wonder what real benefit they provide. Many readers may remember that a rash of high profile crimes on 12th Street prompted to us start a petition last February, and resulted in one of these big community meetings. At the time, many asked for a plan to deal with crime in a comprehensive area-wide way, not just on a case by case basis, but I have yet to see a lot of movement in this direction. To MPD’s credit I, and other neighbors have noticed more foot patrols around the neighborhood. However, I am pretty sure this meeting was called in response to a new “wave” of crime I have heard about anecdotally from neighbors, the listervs and the media- a car break in here, a home burglary there, a lady “jumped”on the Met Branch Trail, and Silvestre’s held up twice. Oh, and an ax-wielding man attacking a police officer.  I don’t mean to sound so pessimistic, but after 5 years of attending these meetings, it will be disappointing if we are just told again to stop using our smart phones in public and call 911 anytime we see something suspicious.

Councilmember McDuffie along with 4th District Commander Missouri and 5th District Commander Porter invites you to attend a Public Safety Summit on Monday, November 17, 2014 at Turkey Thicket Gymnasium from 6:30 pm-8pm. Please see attached flyer for more information.

Laisha T. Dougherty, MPP
Constituent Services Coordinator
Office of Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie, Ward 5
Chairman Pro Tempore
Chair, Committee on Government Operations
1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 506
Washington, DC 20004
202.727.8274 Direct
202.355.4257 Cell
202.724.8028 Main
LDougherty@dccouncil.us
Visit us on the web http://www.kenyanmcduffie.com/

Crime Safety Meeting McDuffy

Police Officer Injured In Brookland – Struggled With Man Who Attacked Cruiser With Ax

NBC4 reports about a scary incident that happened last night in an alley in the area of Perry and 13th Street NE.

 

Thank goodness the police officer was not injured with the ax, but this is frighting and appalling nonetheless. If you see or hear anything that might be related to this attack, please contact the police immediately.

WTOP also reported about this incident here.

Photo courtesy of WTOP

 

Brookland Crime Meeting Well Attended – Action Plan Still Needed

Eddie Johnson, GBBAWard 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffieCommander Diane GroomesIMG_0814Commander PorterIMG_0816
IMG_0817IMG_0818IMG_0819IMG_0820

Brookland Crime Meeting 2.11.2014, a set on Flickr.

Readers may recall that there was a meeting about the increase in neighborhood crime hosted by Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie recently. At that meeting over 60 neighbors attended as well as a handful of 12th Street business owners. Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners (ANC) for Single Member District (SMD) 5B03, Michael Morrison and 5B05, Janese Jones were present as well.

Ward 5 Councilmember McDuffie kicked the meeting off by declaring “I am solutions oriented person” and that he is interested in hearing the communities concerns. Eddie Johnson from the Greater Brookland Business Association (GBBA), a co-host of the meeting, noted that with new developments in the Brookland area, police forces will be stretched.

There were many representatives from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) including Commander Diane Groomes, (Assistant Chief in charge of the Patrol Services and School Security Bureau) new District 5 Commander Diedre Porter , and many other MPD officers from the 5th and 4th Districts.Commander Porter gave an update on recent crimes. The Silvestre’s armed robbery is still open and under investigation. The CVS “smash and grab” is still open, they are working with Maryland peers, and actively investigating. She also addressed the topic of complaints of Luke C Moore Academy students using pot and loitering around 10th and Monroe NE. The Commander met with the school’s principle and increased officer patrols around Turkey Thicket and the 10th Street area. So far there have been no new complaints. The Commander discussed crime statistics in comparison to last year at this same time. Overall crime is up especially along the 12th Street corridor, for example, theft from autos is up from 6 last year at this time to 9 this year. The Commander plans to add foot or bike patrols as resources are available, especially this summer.

The meeting was then turned over to the community for a question and answer session. I tried my best to capture the conversation below. All in all it was a good meeting. I think I speak for the community members present in that we appreciated MPD’s and Councilmember McDuffie’s community engagement. In the end though, I can’t say that we walked away with any kind of “Action Plan” or concrete next steps. Quite frankly, I think it is up to the community to determine what types of steps we would like to see taken and bring them forward. I spoke to ANC Commissioners Jones and Morrison and Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association (BNCA) President Tom Bridge afterward, and all were on board with coming up with a unified set of actions the community would like to see taken. Tom Bridge offered that the BNCA could organize community watch or walks. MPD representatives wanted the community to know that they can send texts to 50411 which is an anonymous tip line, if you see something out of the normal, or call 911. Also, they offered practical advice such as making sure your home’s exterior lights are on, not to leave valuables like purses and laptops in cars and don’t use electronic devices or earplugs when walking.

  • Q) The CVS And Silvestre’s robberies seem to be professional. A) We don’t know if the thieves are “professional”, but each crime was clearly coordinated.
  • Q) There was a discussion about the MPD 2011 – 2012 crime report, it appeared that crimes in many categories are going up  – what is MPD going to do? A) While there was an overall increase, there was a decrease in violent crime. Theft from robberies and property crime are up. Generally MPD looks at the previous 30 days and year to date statistics and adjusts resources and tactics accordingly.
  • Q) We need community policing/community involvement and relationships, not just car patrols. A) Commander Porter agreed that we should have more police walking. Also, the police would be happy to walk with organized neighborhood patrols/watches.
  • Q) There was a discussion of “close rates” of crimes. A) Commissioner Groomes said they do a number of activities to solve crimes for example, note crime trends and deploy plain clothes officers, look at neighboring /PG County trends, cracking down on second hand dealers of stolen goods, and partner with METRO police. DC’s closure rate is higher than most cities.
  • Q) Is there any news on the shooting at 22nd and Lawrence? A) Actively investigating.
  • Q) Do you have enough resources? If not how can we push for more? A) Commander Groomes – we have 100 more officers in the Academy. The Academy is full. DC is becoming a 24 hour city so that is an adjustment we are making.
  • Q) What steps are being to make the Metropolitan Branch Trail more secure? A) We made 8 to 10 arrests on MBT last year. We have a bike patrol.
  • Q) What is the long-range strategic plan for the area, factoring in the new developments and population increases? A) CM McDuffie said he is working on filling the gap between resources and need. He noted a strategic plan that he requested for the Trinidad neighborhood. Actions like increased patrols were implemented, but we can’t leave everything at foot of MPD. He said he is working with other agencies to try and connect young men with resources. He meets with the Deputy Mayor who is very interested that neighborhoods receive adequate policing for new developments. Also MPD looks at areas with developments and strategically deploys resources.
  • There was discussion from residents about cleaning up our own neighborhood and getting to know each other. We shouldn’t assume unemployed people are not invested in the community. Let’s take control of our community.  No one wants to hire kids with no skills, they need opportunity and skills.
  • Q) I see kids smoking pot at Turkey Thicket or the gas station at 8:30 – 9:30 every morning and walk toward Luke C Moore. I didn’t  know if they are students or not, but if they are, this is a problem because they cannot focus on school. We need plain clothes cops. A) Commissioner Porter promised to re-visit the Luke C Moore issue.
  • ANC Commissioner Janese Jones noted that she has gotten a lot of feedback from residents that she could share. An ongoing issue is that Turkey Thicket is the 5th District and the Neighborhood across from it is the 4th District. This causes issues when the two districts aren’t coordinated or calls where police don’t respond because of district borders.

Stand Up And Demand Real Action At Brookland’s Crime Meeting On Tuesday

Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie is hosting a meeting in a response to a series of high profile and brazen crimes on 12th Street in Brookland, which prompted to us to start an online petition for increased police presence. Many thanks to the over 300 folks who signed, but now we need to follow through and demand a real action plan to keep our neighborhood safe. The meeting will also give the public a chance to meet new District 5 Commander Dierdre N. Porter (you can read her bio here). The meeting will take place on Tuesday February 11th at 6:00 pm at the Turkey Thicket gym. We strongly encourage everyone to come out.

McDuffy Public safety meeting

New District 5 Police Commander And CM McDuffie To Hold Crime Meeting

Overview map of the Fifth Police District (Washington, DC)
District 5 Map courtesy of the DC Metropolitan Police Department.

Yesterday we learned that MPD District 5 Commander Solberg was given a new position, and District 5, which covers Brookland, will be getting new Commander, Dierdre N. Porter. This move comes amid a series of high profile and brazen crimes on 12th Street in Brookland, which prompted to us to start an online petition for increased police presence. We wish Mr. Solberg the best in his new position and are looking forward to getting to know Commander Porter.

We spoke with a representative from Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie’s staff on Monday about the response from his office and MPD to the 250+ Brookanders who signed the petition. His team assured me that they are in the process of scheduling a community meeting about the crime issue and that MPD representatives would be there. The meeting will take place on Tuesday February 11th at 6:30 pm. The location has not been announced yet, we will let you know when we know. We strongly encourage everyone to come out. You can read and sign the petition here, or on the top right of our home page.

Here is a message from Commander Porter to the community, and you can read her bio here:

Good Morning Community Members,

As a native Washingtonian, it is with anticipation and pleasure that I have been selected to serve as the Commander of the Fifth District. I am familiar with the Fifth District, as I previously resided in the Woodridge area for approximately nine years. I am excited to be working with my fellow Metropolitan Police Department members and returning to the Fifth District community.

I have 23-years of service with the Metropolitan Police Department. During my tenure, I have been previously assigned to the First, Second, Sixth and Seventh Patrol Districts, as well as various administrative assignments. My most recent assignment was in Patrol Services and School Security Bureau.

I look forward to seeing you in the community.

Dierdre N. Porter, Commander
Fifth District Commander
Metropolitan Police Department
1805 Bladensburg Road, NE
Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 698-0150
Fax: (202) 727-8453
E-mail: Dierdre(dot)Porter(at)dc(dot)gov

MPD Commander Responds To Brookland Police Petition – Please Sign And Keep Spreading The Word

This morning MPD District 5 Commander Solberg sent out the message below via Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association (BNCA) president Tom Bridge, in response to our petition to increase police forces in Brookland. At that point, we only had 65 signatures. I know, like, and respect Commander Solberg. But, at this point it is clear that criminals are exhibiting brazen behavior in our neighborhood. If the “crime patrols” that Commander Solberg describes where enough, 5 masked gunmen would not have felt confident enough to rob a 12th Street business at 8:00 pm on a Friday night.

However, the issue of adequate police coverage is really out of his hands. Commander Solberg can only work with the amount of officers he is given by  MPD Chief of Police Cathy Lanier and Mayor Gray. That’s why it is so important that we stay on top of this.  Lets continue to clog the inboxes of these decision makes with our petition. Please share this petition with your neighbors and sign it if you haven’t done so. The spike in crimes that we have seen would not be acceptable in other neighborhoods, and it shouldn’t be accepted here. Also, please consider showing up at the next BNCA meeting – MPD Lieutenant Durand will be on hand. The meeting will be at 7:00 pm on February 18th and Howard Divinity School, 1400 Shepard Street NE in the Faculty Dining Room, (Basement Level, room 78). Here is the petition, it takes a few seconds to fill out and will land directly in these decision maker’s email inboxes.

Recipients:

  • Executive Office of the Mayor, Vincent Gray
  • Ward 5 Councilmember McDuffie
  • Chair, Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, Councilmember Tommy Wells
  • MPD Chief of Police, Cathy Lanier
  • MPD District 5 Commander, Andy Solberg
  • ANC5B 01 Commisioner Shirley Rivens-Smith
  • ANC 5B-02 Commissioner Ursula Higgins
  • ANC 5B-03 Michael Morrison
  • ANC 5B-04 Commssioner Carolyn C. Steptoe
  • ANC 5B-05 Commissioner Jenese L. Jones

Petition Text:

As I am sure you are aware, there has been a recent uptick in crimes in the Brookland neighborhood of North East DC. Two of these, the “smash and grab” theft of an ATM at the CVS, and armed robbery at Silvestre Cafe at 3601 and 3000 12th Street NE, respectively, were particularly coordinated and brazen. All tolled, there have been at least five burglaries or robberies of 12th Street businesses in the last 7 months, and just over a half mile apart. Without a noticeable, proactive, sustained and increased police presence, on and around our commercial district, the perpetrators of these crimes will get the message that Brookland businesses continue to be easy targets.

For Brooklanders, the night of December 18, 2010, when Newton Foodmart owner Raj Patel was killed in a botched robbery is etched in our consciousness. We will not stand idly by while our neighbors and those that have invested in our community are threatened and robbed with deadly weapons.

I stand with my fellow neighbors and the businesses of the Brookland’s main street, 12th Street NE, in asking you to do everything in your power to address the unsolved crimes that have taken place in our neighborhood and increase the presence of MPD officers on our streets.

Brookland Residents Request Increased Police Presence

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

[signature]

322 signatures

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 Commander Solberg’s response:

As you are President of the Brookland Civic Association, I would like to ask that you relay my message below to the over 65 people who have sent the identical email to the group here. It would take me too long to reply to each sender; I would much appreciate it if you can post the reply to the Brookland listserv, or to any other organizations whose members may be among those posting this message. Perhaps the ANC commissioners also included here can help to spread this reply.
 
The incident involving the theft of the ATM at the CVS reflects a trend that DC and PG County have seen recently. A group (or groups) of men uses a pickup truck or van, usually recently stolen, to make off with the stolen machine. MPD and Maryland police have found a few of these stolen vehicles, in some cases with the machine still inside. While there has been video recorded of some of the thefts, we have not identified any suspects or made any arrests.
 
The robbery this past Friday night at Silvestre Café on 12th Street also is not solved. In this case, a group of men wearing masks and carrying handguns entered the restaurant about 7:45 pm and robbed people inside. We believe we have recovered the van they used as their getaway vehicle, but we have not yet processed it.
 
I understand that these two crimes, and the burglaries you mention in this message, cause worry and concern. I want to reassure all of you that we do, and will continue, to patrol the 12th Street Business corridor and the residential community.
 
We have officers who are dedicated to walking and patrolling the community as specific “crime patrol” officers whose main mission each day is to provide the type of proactive response the community is asking for. We have officers on each shift whose job this is, and I know that many residents and business owners know and interact with them on a regular basis.
 
I also want to point out that the Fifth District led the city in crime reduction in 2013, and PSA 504 showed a reduction in most property crime categories, with, unfortunately, an increase in burglaries in 2013. We have taken steps to address the increase in burglaries in PSA 504, and there are officers who work in a burglary task force during the hours we see most of our burglaries, which is during the week when many people are at work and away from their homes.
 
We will continue to work hard to address all the concerns mentioned below, and I am confident that our downward-trending crime pattern will continue in 2014.
 
Andy Solberg
Commander, 5D

3 Brookland Businesses Robbed/Burgled In Two Weeks – Speak Up For Them!

Sign in Little Ricky's window last week.
Sign in Little Ricky’s window last week.

Last week we posted about the ultra-brazen smash and grab attack on the CVS at 12th and Newton Streets, NE. In that burglary the thieves made off with an ATM machine. So far, we haven’t heard about any arrests made in that case.

Then, we got word from Chase, the owner of popular Brookland restaurant, Little Ricky’s, that they were burglarized in the early morning hours of Friday January 24th. Fortunately in that case, the thieves didn’t get away with much.

Now, less than two weeks since the CVS theft, we learned about a very scary and again, very brazen, robbery at neighborhood restaurant Silvestre’s. According to reports, masked gunmen entered the restaurant around 8:00 pm on Friday night, January 31st and robbed the patrons and employees at gunpoint. NBC 4 Washington broadcasted a story about the crime, see the video here. We visited Silvestre’s Saturday to inquire how the employees are doing. While the staff put on a brave face, they were clearly shaken by the event. What they told us was harrowing. They said 5 men with rifles entered the store, pointing the guns at patrons and at them. Once they robbed the patrons and the cash register, they went the extra step of forcing an employee at gunpoint into the basement to check if there was a safe down there they could rob as well. Needless to say we are disgusted by this violent act perpetrated against our neighbors. We reached out to Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie and the Metropolitan Police Department via Twitter and McDuffie responded with the following Tweet:

McDuffie’s office also released this statement:

It was disheartening to learn of the robbery that occurred last night at Silvestre Cafe on 12th Street.  I’ve reached out to MPD5th District and have asked for increased police presence. I’ve spoken to Chief Groomes and MPD has pulled the video of the robbery and are canvassing the area to seek additional evidence. They have also increased patrols in the area, more officers are on foot as well as having the Latino division assisting. Recently, MPD closed the cases of a nearby cleaners that was robbed and have made an arrest in the string of cabs robberies in the 5th District. I urge anyone with information relating to last night’s callous robbery of Silvestre’s to immediately contact MPD. In addition, I just spoke to the victim (restaurant employee) to ensure them that MPD and law enforcement are vigorously pursing all leads in this case.

Well, we thought that it is about time that we, as neighbors, stood up for our Brookland businesses and demanded more police presence on 12th Street and around the neighborhood.  The CVS and Silvestre’s crimes were well coordinated and bold – obviously the pack of cowards who would point rifles at unarmed victims at 8:00 pm on a Friday night on our main street felt they could get away with this attack. Between the armed robbery of of the Newton Market in August and the robbery of Yes! Organics in July – that makes 5 burglaries/robberies of our businesses in 7 months, just over a half mile apart.  If there isn’t a swift, prominent and proactive police response, what will these criminals think of next? Here’s where you can make a difference. If you want to send a message to our Councilmember and members of the Washington DC Metropolitan Police that we demand additional police resources dedicated to our commercial district, please take a second and fill out the letter to them via the form below.

Recipients:

  • Executive Office of the Mayor, Vincent Gray
  • Ward 5 Councilmember McDuffie
  • Chair, Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, Councilmember Tommy Wells
  • MPD Chief of Police, Cathy Lanier
  • MPD District 5 Commander, Andy Solberg
  • ANC5B 01 Commisioner Shirley Rivens-Smith
  • ANC 5B-02 Commissioner Ursula Higgins
  • ANC 5B-03 Michael Morrison
  • ANC 5B-04 Commssioner Carolyn C. Steptoe
  • ANC 5B-05 Commissioner Jenese L. Jones

Petition Text:

As I am sure you are aware, there has been a recent uptick in crimes in the Brookland neighborhood of North East DC. Two of these, the “smash and grab” theft of an ATM at the CVS, and armed robbery at Silvestre Cafe at 3601 and 3000 12th Street NE, respectively, were particularly coordinated and brazen. All tolled, there have been at least five burglaries or robberies of 12th Street businesses in the last 7 months, and just over a half mile apart. Without a noticeable, proactive, sustained and increased police presence, on and around our commercial district, the perpetrators of these crimes will get the message that Brookland businesses continue to be easy targets.

For Brooklanders, the night of December 18, 2010, when Newton Foodmart owner Raj Patel was killed in a botched robbery is etched in our consciousness. We will not stand idly by while our neighbors and those that have invested in our community are threatened and robbed with deadly weapons.

I stand with my fellow neighbors and the businesses of the Brookland’s main street, 12th Street NE, in asking you to do everything in your power to address the unsolved crimes that have taken place in our neighborhood and increase the presence of MPD officers on our streets.

Brookland Residents Request Increased Police Presence

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

[signature]

322 signatures

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Video – Police Seek Info In CVS ‘Smash And Grab’ ATM Theft

Yesterday Brookland was abuzz about the crazy ‘Smash and Grab’ theft at the CVS at 12th and Newton Streets, NE. If you missed the calamity – a van rammed into the CVS, smashed through the glass and made off with the ATM machine around 4:00 am on Monday morning. Here is coverage of the story on ABC 7 WJLA:

Now that the store’s surveillance footage is available, DC’s Metropolitan Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the crooks in the video below. It’s worth watching the whole video, as it shows the theft twice, from different angles. Bonkers. If you have any information contact the police at 202-727-9099.  Additionally, information may be submitted to the Text Tip Line by text messaging 50411.  DC Crime Solvers currently offers a reward of up to $1,000 to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for a burglary committed in the District of Columbia.