… Despite the ridiculousness of this claim, Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder self-exiled in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, is actively fueling this conspiracy theory.
Some background: Seth Rich, a 27-year-old staffer for the DNC, was found murdered on a sidewalk at Flagler Place and W Street NW in Bloomingdale at 4:30 am on August 10. The police suspect his murder was a botched robbery in a neighborhood suffering a tripling of armed robberies this year.
When police found Mr. Rich, they found his watch, wallet, and credit cards on him. These facts have led conspiracy theorist away from the simplest explanation, a panicked robber, to a fantastical story of political revenge by Hillary Clinton on a DNC staffer who Mr. Assange strongly insinuates leaked tens of thousands of DNC emails.
This wild cloak-and-dagger theory has been thoroughly debunked, yet WikiLeaks is offering a $20,000 reward to catch the killer. While that may seem helpful, Mr. Assange is using one family’s tragedy to push some political agenda against Mrs. Clinton.
The Rich family and the police appealed to the public to come forward with information and the MPD is offering a $25,000 reward to informants. Mr. Assange’s publicity stunt distracts investigators from real leads.
On Saturday afternoon, Matthew C. Shlonsky, a recent graduate of American University, was murdered on Seventh Street near the Shaw Metro’s north entrance. Mr. Shlonsky’s murder is part of a documented uptick in violence across Washington.
Crime has risen and MPD’s online data tool reveals this.
LeDroit Park, Howard University, and the section of Shaw near Progression Place are in police service area (PSA) 306. Over the past 12 months, violent crime has increased 8.1%, property crime has increased 4.9%, and total crime has increased 5.4% compared to the 12 months before that.
|Number of Crimes Reported Between|
|Crime Type||8/17/2013 to 8/17/2014||08/17/2014 to 08/17/2015||Change|
|Robbery Excluding Gun||19||24||+5|
|Robbery With Gun||17||14||-3|
|Assault Dangerous Weapon (ADW) Excluding Gun||20||16||-4|
|Assault Dangerous Weapon (ADW) Gun||2||8||+6|
|Total Violent Crime||62||67||+5|
|Total Property Crime||328||344||+16|
However, when looking at year-to-date numbers for 2015 (Jan. 1 – Aug. 18, 2015) versus the same range last year (Jan. 1 – Aug. 18, 2014), violent crime declined 8.1%, property crime tumbled 10.9%, and total crime in the fell 10.6%.
|Number of Crimes Reported Between|
|Crime Type||1/1/2014 to 8/18/2014||01/01/2015 to 08/18/2015||Change|
|Robbery Excluding Gun||11||12||+1|
|Robbery With Gun||10||6||-4|
|Assault Dangerous Weapon (ADW) Excluding Gun||11||10||-1|
|Assault Dangerous Weapon (ADW) Gun||2||5||+3|
|Total Violent Crime||37||34||-3|
|Total Property Crime||202||180||-22|
Mr. Shlonsky’s murder, though tragic, is rare. In the past five years, the only other person murdered was a man found with stab wounds in car that crashed on Florida Avenue in the early hours of May 1, 2012. He was believed to be driving himself to the hospital.
Residents concerned about crime are encouraged to attend the ANC 1B public safety meeting on Thursday, August 20 at 7 pm at the Thurgood Marshall Center (1816 12th St NW).
[This post has been updated to include year-to-date crime numbers.]
Howard University is hosting a forum next week to discuss students’ off-campus conduct. While most students are properly behaved and cause no problems, a few students have a penchant for raucous partying and sloppy trash disposal. The meeting will be on Wednesday, October 9 at 6:30 pm at the Blackburn University Center‘s “Forum” (2397 6th Street NW – first floor to the left of the main entrance).
In addition to interested neighbors, the university has invited the Student Association leadership, campus police, the university’s community relations office, MPD, and university representatives who enforce the Student Code of Conduct.
In other news, Howard University President Sidney Ribeau announced that he will retire (a polite way to say resign) at the end of the calendar year. During Mr. Ribeau’s five-year tenure, the university suffered declining enrollment and declining revenues.
Photo credit: “Red Solo cups” by TheKarenD on Flickr
Marc Morgan, President of the LeDroit Park Civic Association, is running unopposed for ANC 1B01, the seat that covers most of LeDroit Park. Myla Moss, our current ANC commissioner, has decided to retire from the seat she has held since January 2005.
Since I serve as Mr. Morgan’s campaign chair, I will share with you reasons you should vote for him in November.
For the past two years, Marc Morgan has served as President of the LeDroit Park Civic Association and has worked to bring the residents of the neighborhood together by hosting a mix of social activities and informational programs. Additionally, Mr. Morgan has been a strong advocate for the neighborhood by lobbying District agencies, including the DC Housing Authority, DC Water, and the District Department of Transportation, to better respond to problems facing residents in LeDroit Park.
For example, Mr. Morgan coordinated meetings between the residents of the Kelly Miller apartments and the DC Housing Authority to address crime, building deterioration, and youth engagement.
Last fall Mr. Morgan also coordinated the first annual LeDroit Park Oktoberfest, a neighborhood celebration that highlighted LeDroit Park’s diversity and offered activities for residents of all ages. Additionally, he has created a monthly neighborhood happy hour that provides neighbors an opportunity to meet and talk in a relaxed setting.
More recently, Mr. Morgan has work with the Metropolitan Police Department to address crime in LeDroit Park. Mr. Morgan continually pushes for increased police presence and responsiveness. Mr. Morgan also advocates measures to prevent crime and has consulted local residents and businesses to identify and report suspicious activity.
Within the next few weeks, he plans to roll out a new initiative that calls for increased police presence, identification of criminal hotspots, and crime prevention education in both LeDroit Park and Bloomingdale. The overall objective is to reassure residents that LeDroit Park and Bloomingdale are safe, thriving neighborhoods.
Outside of community activism, Mr. Morgan is the Director of Development for the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE), a non-profit dedicated to promoting the use of renewable energy.
This email came through the neighborhood listserv.
On Saturday evening at 7pm en route to Shaw metro north entrance, I was jumped from behind and wrestled to the ground by a teenage thief trying to steal my iphone. Rather than risk being stabbed, I let go of the iphone. What is disturbing is that this is a busy road with many pedestrians walking by, yet not one person stopped to help, including the shopkeepers stood on the doorsteps. When I asked for assistance, I was told to use the payphone on the corner of 7th and T which is where the gang of teenagers preying on their victims hang out in the evening – including the evening I was attacked. There were 10 or 12 on the corner of 7th and T and all fled after I was robbed. A good Samaritan let me use his cellphone to call the police who arrived in under two minutes. They said they are aware of the gang on 7th and T and have been monitoring them, yet the brazen robberies and attacks in broad daylight continue unabated.
Given the proximity to the Howard Theater, I’m sure this kind of publicity will not be welcomed given the Theater’s planned reopening later this year. I have now been forced to avoid the Shaw metro and will take the U Street Cordoza location instead. Anyone walking in the vicinity of 7th and T should hide their cellphones. Ironically, I am a playwright, my most recent work being about race relations in DC. It is poignant I was attacked in the shadow of Howard Theater.
What a terrible incident, but we’re glad nobody was hurt.
The Block of Blight (600 block of T Street NW) is a perennial source of criminality, as confirmed by the MDP’s regular listing of arrests. The frequency of crime at the corner of Seventh and T Streets warrants a more frequent police presence that the area lacks.
We usually walk our friends to the Metro late at night lest they fall victim to this sort of incivility. Blight encourages crime and both are on display near the Shaw Metro Station. We gently, but consistently, remind visitors that the station and surrounding blight are actually in the Shaw neighborhood, not LeDroit Park, but hopefully we won’t have to reiterate that nuance forever.
Renovations on the Howard Theatre have already begun and the developer for the mixed-use UNCF project at the Metro assures us that the groundbreaking for that project is a month or two away.
Last summer reports surfaced of a gambling house on Fourth Fourth Street between Elm Street an Oakdale Place. After a months-long investigation, the MPD finally swooped in and arrested two residents of the house in late January. After the arrest the MPD informed the neighborhood that they also found sound-proofing material attached the interior walls to reduce the noise emanating from the house. Whether this was out of respect for the neighbors or fear of getting caught, one cannot know.
Last month the police and U.S. Attorney obtained a conviction and Lt. Alberto Jova informs us that an eviction is also pending.
Meet your neighbors and catalog trouble spots. LeDroit Park residents will gather at Anna Cooper Circle on Thursday, April 15, for an alleyway walk-through. The purpose is to alert our ANC Commissioner Myla Moss, Councilmember Jim Graham, and our accompanying MPD officer of any inadequate lighting conditions or other features that may attract crime to our alleys.
The organizer tells us, “while the safety walk has a serious purpose, it’s also a great way to meet your neighbors and find out more about LeDroit Park.”
LeDroit Park Safety Walk
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Meet at Anna Cooper Circle at 7 pm
What was that chop chop chop you heard last night? Was it a medevac helicopter landing at Howard University Hospital? Was the president swinging by on Marine One for a nighttime tour of the Gage-Eckington mud pit?
Neither. Last night the MPD, equipped with air support, arrested two people at the illegal casino running out of a house on Fourth Street between Elm Street and Oakdale Place. As early as this summer we heard complaints about the illegal games going on inside. In fact this Las Vegas-upon-Fourth was so popular that its patrons clogged the parking spaces on the surrounding streets. It was only a matter of time before the house (and neighborhood in general) became a target of a violent casino heist.
Neighbors had complained of patrons loitering outside each afternoon waiting for the house to open and for the games to begin. The gambling hosts, for all the nuisances they caused, observed a self-imposed blue law, closing shop on Sunday.
But just as a roulette wheel eventually comes to a stop, the casino’s business had dwindled over the past month. Last night the MPD swooped in to stop it for good. Looks like the two arrested had rolled snake eyes.
The Metropolitan Police Department, Councilmembers Jim Graham (D – Ward 1) and Harry Thomas, Jr. (D – Ward 5), and the local ANC commissioners are hosting a public safety meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) night at 7 pm at the Mt. Pleasant Church at Second Street and Rhode Island Avenue.
The meeting will address some of the recent violence in the two neighborhoods.
Soon after we moved to the neighborhood, we playfully nicknamed the 600 block of T Street (in front of the Howard Theater) as the “Block of Blight”. Boarded-up and decaying buildings, garbage on the street, visible idleness, public drinking, bullet-proof glass at the store counters. The 600 block of T Street is the scene of constant littering and loitering— both clearly on display even when the Google Street View car drove by this summer (see photo above). It wasn’t until the latest listing of MPD Third District arrests that our suspicions were confirmed: the block is the site of drug dealing, too.
On October 1, 10, and 30, three different people were arrested for “Distribution of a Controlled Substance”, and those are only the cases the police actually uncovered.
The MPD has posted a sign on the light post reading
Persons coming into this area to buy drugs are
subject to arrest & seizure of their vehicles.
We certainly hope that this is the police department’s policy citywide regardless of whether or not there’s a sign posted. It’s the law.
According to the MPD’s crime map, within 500 feet of that block within the past 365 days, there have been no homicides. However, there have been two burglaries, one case of sex abuse, twelve unarmed robberies, nine armed robberies, six assaults, thirteen thefts, 46 thefts from cars, and eleven cars stolen.
The Howard Theater’s rebirth and reconstruction will at least repair the physical infrastructure (lumpy sidewalks, cracked curbstones, crumbling façades), but we also hope it fixes the social ills with it.