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A regular summary of irregular news and notes from neighborhood blogs and email lists around the District.
Some Wards Have Real Problems: “News outlets are now reporting the arrests of two individuals purportedly responsible for robberies committed in NW and gasp! – Ward 8 I believe. All it took was for the robbing, thieving crooks to make that fateful trip West of the Park to commit offenses others East of the River had gotten away with, to cop some real bling – silver bracelets and sterling anklets,” says a member of the Hillcrest DC email list. “All it took was for the residents of tony Ward 3 to cry out – ‘We’ve been robbed!’ and their superheroine of a representative came to their rescue and the menaces to their society were collared. All it took was for Ward 3 CM Mary Cheh to boldly stand in front a bank of microphones (without a cape, utility belt, Batmobile or leotard-wearing sidekick) and declare war on crime in her community and voila! – a pair of culprits is expeditiously apprehended. Well, if that’s all it took, somebody please tell me, why are we in Ward 7, still getting taken?!!!!” Another writes “The news last night said that 4 more robberies/hold ups in NW & the one at Branch & Denver yesterday morning. It also showed police handing out flyers in NW trying to catch these crooks. Where are the flyers in Ward 7 alerting citizens to these hold ups? I did not see any police passing out flyers in Hillcrest last Summer/Fall when 6 houses on 32nd St. were burglarized.” Another adds, “I lived on the Hill for many years and I still work there. It always amazes me how differently we are treated East of The River, by the police, our council members and even the business owners. When one chooses to live here, one is choosing to receive less or battle daily for our basic rights as a resident. Shame, DC Police! Shame, Council Member, City Chair and Mr Mayor!!!”
Hairy Eyeball: A member of the Chevy Chase email list who was disturbed by a group of grappling girls writes, “This was about 4 pm. There were 5 girls involved, maybe 5th grade. Initially a group of girls was hanging out at the play structure which overlooks Broad Branch Road. Then one girl was grappling with another, each with sticks in her hand. At first I thought it was physical play, but then, one girl had shoved the other girl against the fence, then another girl joined in pushing the girl against the fence. Then one of the girls pushing called out to her friends, ‘Come help me push her.’ I could not conceive of any situation in which it was OK for 4 girls to slam one girl against a fence. So I went over to them, and sternly said, ‘Girls, is this nice? Are you having fun?’ The girls doing the pushing gave me the hairy eyeball but walked away in a group to the basketball court. The girl who was being pushed walked away, still holding her stick, over by the trailers and around the corner by the cafeteria. After a few minutes, she walked back to the basketball court. I didn’t hear what was said, but in a few seconds one of the group of 4 (long ponytail, pink coat) had jumped on the girl’s back and was trying to bring her down to the ground. I went over and told them to stop. I told them this was not safe and they could not behave like this in a public place. Then, a woman with a blue notebook came around the corner. I asked her if she worked there. She said yes. I told her the way they were playing was not safe, and someone would get hurt. I went to a very rough high school growing up, where I unfortunately saw a lot of fights with both boys and girls. But I was appalled to see what looked like the beginning of a group assault at Lafayette. Does Lafayette have girls who beat up on each other? I am concerned that this conflict is not over and somebody is going to get jumped.”
Remembering Darwin: A member of the Shepard Park email list takes a moment to reflect on the death of a furry friend. “A few years ago, although sometimes the memory is so clear it seems like yesterday a lovely Australian mix was in the park with his owners. He was a lovely, friendly young thing who’s life was cut all to short when he ran off (the nature of dogs) after some scent, was lost and drowned in a creek that looks benign but can be forceful and treacherous. A large search party made up of humans and dogs went on a week long search to find this beloved pet. I’m certain all remember this innocent ‘pup’ fondly and this unfortunate event. I certainly was reminded by these email. I have been a pet sitter for 14 years and although frolicking in a lovely national park seem an ideal and fun activity for your ‘off leash’ canine it can lead to tragic circumstances at worst, and at least, the new national industry, ‘litigation.’ Wise to be cautious.”
A Sassy Exchange: A Ward 5 resident writes on the MPD-5 email list: “I’m concerned that, at best MPD is unaware or at worse, oblivious or is more concerned about the crime numbers for this area to report them accurately. I spoke with a neighbor today who had just spoken to Commander Solberg. She was obviously concerned, first, because in the most recent attempted break in the thieves were at her door trying to find a way in. Second, when they could not find a way into her home they used her porch to climb onto the porch overhangs of neighboring homes to gain entry to a home several doors down which they did break in to. My neighbor’s conversation with Commander Solberg was upsetting to her and to me. The officer suggested that the number of break ins on the block was inaccurate or being inflated by the victims. I’m sure my neighbors know when their homes have been violated. We as a block have come together to console one another and exchange information about crime on the block. We have had 7 break ins and/or attempted break ins, one home being struck twice. Perhaps the crime numbers don’t bode well for a MPD that is feeling the pressure to catch the crooks. But please don’t tell us that we don’t know whose and how many homes have been violated. For a block of 16 homes and 2 condo buildings, the statistics are unbelievable for the number of break ins this block has suffered. Is it any wonder we feel like this one block is feeling preyed upon. As someone said in an email to me yesterday, the crooks are striking with ‘impunity.’” Commander Andy Solberg of 5D responded, “It was stated in two emails that there have been seven home invasions in recent weeks. This seemed quite unusual, so I went back and went through our daily crime reports for all of 2012 and was not able to find reports for seven burglaries, as we classify them. We are not at all downplaying the crimes themselves or the community’s concern for safety. I am merely trying to obtain accurate information so that we understand the scope of the problem and can take the appropriate steps to resolve the problem. “ The first writer wrote,“I don’t how the MPD classifies burglaries. Perhaps that’s something you or a representative of MPD can share with us at some point. What I do know for certain is that, perhaps in 6 months or 2 months or 10 months, seven of my neighbors homes have been violated. Still statistically and morally outrageous for one block. I won’t play semantic on an unbalanced field. Me and my neighbors are frightened and angry. ANC rep Tim Clark seems to get it saying recently in reference to the crime here on Seaton Pl, ‘you all are having it rough down there. Since you have the crime reports maybe you can tell us what your numbers and categories are.'”