August 18, 2015 - 10:11 am

A lost iPad and thoughtful neighbors


In the wake of Saturday’s homicide on 7th Street, a neighbor posted about her son’s lost iPad on the neighborhood listserv:

Our children and our family friends were witnesses to the shooting yesterday afternoon at 7th and S St. During the chaos, my four year old (who has a developmental disability and can’t speak) dropped his iPad that he uses as a communication device. It is an iPad mini in a life proof case. If you find it, please let us know. There is a reward upon return.

If you found the missing iPad mini, send me a private message and I’ll put you in touch with the family.

Last night the resident posted this thoughtful follow-up:

After we shared a message about the shooting at 7th and S on Saturday and our son’s lost communication iPad, we received so many heartfelt messages of support and concern from friends and neighbors. Thank you for your outreach – it reconfirms everything that we love about living in this community.

We are struggling with how to reconcile this violence in our community with our family’s needs. We are heartbroken for Matthew Shlonsky and his loved ones, we are sad and angry about the violence in our community making it less safe for our kids, and we are committed to fighting the root causes of this violence.

Many people have asked what they can do to help replace our son’s lost communication iPad, and have even offered donations for a new one. We so appreciate all of these offers of support.

We are going to order a new iPad for our son to take to his first day of school next week, but we are also making donations to community organizations that work every day to improve the lives of children and families in our community. We invite you to join us in supporting these organizations, or others of your choosing.

Northwest Settlement House operates a child care center on the corner of 7th and S that serves kids from all backgrounds and helps working parents find affordable childcare.

ONE DC is a community organization, based a block from 7th and S that organizes for access to better jobs and housing.


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August 17, 2015 - 1:30 pm

Crime is up, but murder is rare


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.

MPD Third District

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
Homicide 0 1 +1
Sex Abuse 4 4 0
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
Burglary 21 13 -8
Theft 129 140 +11
Theft F/Auto 157 168 +11
Stolen Auto 20 23 +3
Arson 1 0 -1
Total Property Crime 328 344 +16
Total Crime 390 411 +21

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
Homicide 0 1 +1
Sex Abuse 3 0 -3
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
Burglary 15 9 -6
Theft 87 72 -15
Theft F/Auto 84 85 +1
Stolen Auto 16 14 -2
Arson 0 0 0
Total Property Crime 202 180 -22
Total Crime 239 214 -25

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.]

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November 30, 2009 - 5:52 pm

Crime Prevention Meeting

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.

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November 22, 2009 - 11:10 pm

Block of Blight

600 Block of T Street NW
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.

November 16, 2009 - 11:11 pm

DC Homicide Rates Decline, Still Too High

Homicides: DC vs National Average

We were walking through Columbia Heights late Saturday night and noticed numerous police cars rushing south toward Columbia Road. Later that evening we learned the terrible news that a nine-year-old boy was murdered in his apartment by one bullet shot through his front door. Though the assailant may not have been aiming for the boy specifically, shooting anywhere in an apartment building is bound to hurt somebody and we have serious trouble understanding why someone would exhibit such reckless disregard for human life.

This murder occurred despite this increased police presence this weekend as part of the MPD’s All Hands on Deck program. The police, though, cannot be in every hallway in every apartment building.

Closer to home, we became aware of a violent attack that occurred at Second and S Streets in Bloomingdale last week. In an email to the police and several community leaders, Former ANC Commissioner Margot Hoerrner (ANC1B11) described what happened to her friend Brad, who was house-sitting for her:

On Wednesday, at 5pm, Brad was attacked by 6-7 young men, at the corner of 2nd and S Street, who wanted absolutely nothing other than to beat the utter crap out of him. Brad, aside from being a military guy, is also an urban-savvy guy, who said that his instincts never warned him that something was about to happen. On his way to the Big Bear Cafe, half the group rushed him from the front, whereas the other half rushed him from the back. They knocked him down, and then, as a group, stomped on him, jumped on him, and beat him senseless, leaving him with black eyes, thoroughly bloodied and with several cracked ribs.

What’s shocking is that there are too many Washingtonians who think nothing of brutally beating and stomping innocent people.

Ms. Hoerrner added something I’ve often felt: that Washington is more dangerous than many conflict zones and poverty-stricken countries around the world:

As an aside, my work takes me to the poorest, conflict-riddled places in the world. I have spent the last two weeks in Kenya and Tanzania, which are at the precipice of humanitarian and civil disaster because of a four-year drought. A friend of mine has commented on my lack of fear in traveling to these places by myself, and asked me if I’ve ever felt fear traveling anywhere – and I said yes… I have felt more threatened and fearful living in Washington DC than I have anywhere else in the world. I am often stunned at the level of violence and crime that we have come to accept as a given for simply living in this city.

We bring up these problems because we feel that we as a city have become too used to this violence, which is actually abnormal. Washington’s homicide rate for last year was around 32 murders per 100,000 residents, still far off from the 1991 peak of 80.6, but far above the national average (5.8) and more than five times the rate of New York City (6.2).

Making Washington a world-class city requires addressing some of the sicker aspects of our civic culture, particularly our extraordinary rates of violence and our tolerance of violence.  We should stand as examples of what a city can be: the elegant, prosperous, and peaceful pinnacle of human civilization and not a place bleeding from occasional bouts of unrelenting brutality.