Crime: Saturday’s Mayhem; New Second District Commander; Mayor Takes Action
By November 20, 2023 0 1124•
Why must Georgetowners be alert at all times?
Two photos snapped by Georgetown resident and photographer for The Georgetowner, Bill Starrels, from this past Saturday evening help illustrate the rising sense of mayhem echoed by ANC Commissioner Paul Maysak (2E03) in a recent ANC meeting: “I am getting a lot of comments from people who tell me it’s a gut feeling for them – they just don’t feel safe,” he said.
“After the attempted carjacking at 27th and K Streets,” Starrels wrote, “MPD and uniformed Secret Service [officers] jumped in and searched a dumpster on 31st Street, just north of South Street around 11:00 p.m.”
A half-hour earlier, AlertDC issued a notification for a street closure due to a not-necessarily-criminal “vehicle crash” at 31st St. NW, between N and Dumbarton Streets. Out for a walk, Starrels was also on hand to capture this snapshot of the post-crash scene, a Toyota Corolla flipped on its side:
But are these just one-offs from a Saturday evening stroll? No.
On Sunday, MPD’s Second District Watch Commander posted this public bulletin: “The Second District is investigating a possible pattern of Armed Carjacking (Gun) that occurred on 11/18/2023. The events [took place] around 10:35 p.m. (2700 block of K Street NW), 10:55 p.m. (3000 block of Wisconsin NW), and 11:30 p.m. (1900 block of Foxhall NW). In two of the cases the suspects were not successful in obtaining the vehicle but did take a white BMW SUV which has been recovered. “The lookout is for 4 young black males dressed in all-black, armed with guns. They are described as driving a gray or silver sedan (possibly a Lexus with temporary tags).”
Meanwhile, Sunday morning’s lead editorial in The Washington Post further elaborated the sense of criminal mayhem roused by “organized retail theft” targeting CVS, Safeway and other retail stores in the District and in Georgetown.
“Shoppers visiting the CVS Pharmacy at 14th and Irving streets NW in Washington recently must think they traveled back in time to the Soviet Union,” the editorial began. “The store’s shelves are bare. The refrigerator cases are devoid of food or beverages. When we visited, only sunscreen and greeting cards were on display. But the bizarre scene is not a result of a failed planned economy; rampant theft is the cause. Shoplifters ransacked this CVS over two days early last month, and it hasn’t been restocked since. Weeks later, there’s still hardly anything to buy — or steal.” In Georgetown, CVS’s and Safeway have also taken to putting certain for-sale items behind lock-and-key.
Taking a stand, the Post lauds Mayor Bowser’s recent initiatives to boost penalties for “organized retail theft” in the District. But, the paper took a clear swipe at the District’s U.S. attorney, Matthew M. Graves who “declined to prosecute 56 percent of [retail theft] cases in the past fiscal year, an unusually high number relative to other cities.”
New MPD Second District Commander
Georgetown’s Second District has a new MPD commander, though no word yet on the reasons for the change. “I am honored to introduce myself as the new commander of the Second District, where I previously served as a captain,” announced Tatjana Savoy, MPD, replacing John Branch, Second District’s commander since March, 2023. Savoy said she is “committed to building on the successes achieved by my predecessor, Commander John Branch. I bring with me a deep understanding of community policing, crime prevention strategies, and the importance of fostering positive relationships with those we serve. I am confident we can continue to make a positive impact together on the safety and well-being of our community. Thank you for your support.”
Youth Violence and The Opioid Epidemic
Just as we reported last week that the pharmacy at CVS 6 Dupont Circle was robbed during the day by an armed assailant demanding Oxycodone, Mayor Bowser declared a “public emergency” to give the city “tools for responding to [the] Opioid crisis and [the] increase in youth violence” in the city.
While the rise in opioid-related fatalities has risen dramatically, opioid and other drug-related addictions have also contributed to rising drug-related crimes in the District.
“Between 2018 and 2022, opioid-related fatal overdoses in the District have more than doubled, from 213 to 461 lives lost per year,” Mayor Bowser wrote.
Obviously, the Fentanyl epidemic intersects with the drug fatality and crime rates. “Fentanyl and its analogs, potent synthetic opioids, were linked to 96 percent of the opioid-related fatal overdoses in the District in 2022. In 2023 to date, there has been an increasing percentage of these substances, where fentanyl and its analogs are now linked to 98 percent of overdose deaths,” the mayor said.
The mayor also highlighted the alarming intersection between the rise in juvenile crime in the District and the overall spike in violent crimes in Washington, D.C. “The District is experiencing an increase in violent crime, particularly among youth. In the first nine months of 2023, there have been 458 arrests of juveniles for robbery, including carjacking, homicide, or assault with a dangerous weapon – 10 percent more than the total number of such arrests in all of 2022,” the mayor wrote. “A total of 151 juveniles have been arrested for carjackings, which represents one-third of all carjacking arrests. The number of District youth victimized by violent crime has also increased significantly. Between January and October 2023, 97 juveniles suffered gunshot wounds, including 15 homicides – a 9 percent increase from the same period in 2022.”
In response to the city’s opioid crisis, the mayor has launched an initiative to enhance and expedite “data sharing, consistent with the safeguards in the existing data sharing agreement [within the D.C. government]” that “can provide a complete picture of opioid-related fatal and suspected non-fatal overdoses as they occur, allowing for the deployment of outreach teams to overdose hotspots and impacted areas and for the provision of harm reduction services and supports.”
On Nov. 19, detectives from MPD’s Homicide Branch announced an investigation into a “shooting that killed a man in Northwest, D.C.” According to an MPD press release, on Nov. 19, at “approximately 3:08 a.m.,Third District officers in the 2100 block of 8th Street, NW,” responded to a “report of an unconscious person inside of a parking garage. Upon arrival, officers located an adult male suffering from a gunshot wound.” The victim, identified identified as 24-year-old Anwar Wingate, of Forestville, Maryland “died at the scene.”
On Nov. 18, detectives from MPD’s Fourth District announced two arrests in connection to armed robberies Nov. 17 in Northwest. In each of the following locations, per police, the “suspects approached the victim(s), displayed a handgun,” demanded and took property, then “fled the scene.”
- At approximately 3:40 p.m., in the 800 block of Tuckerman Street, NW.
- At approximately 4:00 p.m., in the 600 block of Tuckerman Street, NW.
- At approximately 4:00 p.m., at 8th Street and Somerset Place, NW.
On Nov. 17, 2023, “18-year-old Landrell Jordan, of Northwest, D.C., and a 16-year-old juvenile male, of Northwest, DC, were arrested and charged with three counts of Armed Robbery.”
On Nov. 17, detectives from MPD’s First District requested public assistance in identifying a vehicle in reference to a “shooting that occurred in Northwest.” On Nov. 16, at “approximately 8:51 p.m.,” in the 1200 block of North Capitol Street NW, the “suspect exited a vehicle” [and] “fired a handgun striking three adult males,” [then] fled the scene in the vehicle.” The victims were taken to a hospital for “treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.” The suspect’s vehicle, described as a “black 2012 Nissan Maxima with VA tags TWM5617 was captured by a nearby surveillance camera and “can be seen in the photograph below:”
On Nov. 17, MPD announced the arrest of 50-year-old Purcell Williams, of Northwest, D.C., for an Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle offense that occurred in the 1700 block of 7th Street, NW.
On Nov. 14, detectives from MPD’s First District announced a search for a “suspect who robbed a store at gunpoint in the 800 block of 7th St. NW.” At approximately 9:14 p.m., the “suspect approached an employee,” “brandished a handgun and demanded the money from the employee,” according to an MPD press release. “The employee complied” [and] the suspect fled the scene.” However the suspect “was captured by surveillance cameras and can be seen in this video:
Also, on Nov. 14, detectives from MPD’s Second District announced a search for a “suspect who stole a police vehicle in the 4200 block of Connecticut Ave., NW.” On Nov. 10, at “approximately 3:45 a.m.,” the suspect “stole a University of the District of Columbia (UDC) police vehicle from the campus,” an MPD press release said. “The vehicle has been recovered.” However, the suspect “was captured by a surveillance camera and can be seen in this video and the photo below:
Weekly Firearm Recoveries
On Nov. 17, MPD released its “Weekly Firearm Recoveries” report for Nov. 6-13, reporting 70 firearms taken off the streets of the District. Of the 42 named arrestees in the report, 12 were 21-years-old or younger. One listing helps illustrate not only the problem of juvenile involvement in such gun infractions but of “ghost gun” proliferation in the District. “ A 9mm caliber “Ghost Gun” handgun was recovered in the 500 block of Lamont Street, NW. The following person was arrested: 15-year-old male juvenile, of no fixed address, for Carrying a Pistol without a License, Robbery, Possession of a Prohibited Weapon, and Possession of Unregistered Ammunition.”