DC Crime Increase Affects Students


Image Courtesy of Fox News

By Noah Slayter

The District of Columbia’s crime rate  increased 23% on February 24 compared to last year. This has caused the DC government to hand out free “steering locks” for DC residents’ cars. Numerous homicides and sexual assaults have occurred nearby the Catholic University of America (CUA) campus recently, including a shooting in Northeast DC harming three men (one fatally) and the body of a beheaded man found at “the Kearny Street house, near Catholic University,” and the sexual assault of a student at the Brookland Metro Station.

The Mayor of DC, Muriel Bowser, announced that “in response to a rise in thefts of certain model cars,” the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) would hand out steering wheel locks to owners of Kia and Hyundai cars built from 2011-2021. A “social media challenge” involving using a USB to start certain types of cars has gone viral, and the DC government is attempting to respond by handing out the steering locks. 

A more heinous crime than carjacking, the Washington Post reported on February 21 that “Three men were shot, one of them fatally, in a triple shooting late Tuesday night in Northeast Washington, D.C. police said.” The shooting occurred on the 1400 block of Saratoga Avenue NE, which is just south of Rhode Island Avenue. The Metropolitan Police Department has made no arrests as of yet.

In addition to the recent malfeasances, according to WUSA9, Lavaughn Barnes was arrested for first-degree murder in Brookland. Police found a body in the backyard of the 1300 block of Kearney Street in Brookland. The body was found in a “black plastic trash bag”. When the corpse was found, it was “partially decomposed” and missing hands and a head, according to a search warrant affidavit. The 32-year-old turned himself in and confessed to killing a “handyman”. 

This rise in crime is affecting students. Many students do not feel as safe leaving campus. Freshman  Joseph Wages said, “because of the current crime rate, I am now always highly aware of my surroundings.” Sophomore Elizabeth Rexine said, she “feels like the nature of the crimes that DPS emails us have seemed more violent.” Rexine said she felt like more “robberies and assaults” have occurred in the area than before. Freshman Max Morris, also said that “in general, DC has become much less safe. When the government has to give out steering locks, you know you have a problem.”

On February 9, the CUA Department of Campus Safety (DPS) sent out an email alert about a “Brookland Metro Incident” in which “an unknown male confronted a member of the university community on the platform of the Brookland-CUA Metro Station, and assaulted that person.” The CUA community member was not harmed nor was the suspect apprehended as stated by the email. 

The same email gave tips to CUA community members to remain safe:

“Trust your instincts. If something or someone makes you uneasy, avoid the person or leave.  If you are approached, take note of the person’s appearance, clothing and anything unusual that will help you identify them. When possible, walk with others – not alone. Become familiar with Metro Ridership Safety. If away from campus, please call 9-1-1. Do not confront or engage any suspicious people. Download Rave Guardian to virtually communicate with DPS. Program DPS into your cell phone for emergencies: 202-319-5111.” [Emphasis added]

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