Patrick D. Lewis
By Patrick D. Lewis
Despite a nearly 15% drop in violent crimes in Washington between October and November 2023, crime is still prevalent in the District.
This November’s 407 violent crimes is a 30% increase over November 2022, according to Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) statistics. Perhaps most disturbing to the Catholic U community though, are statistics for Police Service Area (PSA) 502, the area immediately south of Campus, and the many incidents that have been reported there recently.
MPD divides the city into 56 PSAs. Officers are assigned to patrol a specific PSA and a police lieutenant commands all officers assigned to a specific one. PSA 502 was the most violent PSA in the city in the month of November, recording a total of 20 violent crimes. The average number of violent crimes within a single PSA in November was 7.2. Unlike the citywide trend, violent crime increased in PSA 502 by over 30% from October.
Violent crimes by Police Service Area in November 2023. Yellow is only a couple of crimes, blue is around the average of 7.2, and purple is well above average. Image courtesy of DC Crime Cards.
The 20 violent crimes in PSA 502 were 3 Assault with a Deadly Weapons incidents (stabbings and shootings) and 17 robberies, which include armed robberies, strong-arm robberies, and carjackings. PSA 502 also saw 70 property crimes.
Several of these incidents were just off campus on Monroe Street and many others were in the area between 4th Street and 8th Street, where many members of the CUA community live.
On November 28, two armed robberies, perpetrated by the same two suspects just a few minutes apart, occurred around 3:30 pm. MPD statistics and emails sent to the University community by the Office of Emergency Management listed the locations of the robberies as 8th St & Franklin Stn, NE, and Chancellors Way & 6th St., NE. The MPD reports for these incidents, one of which occurred on the popular Metropolitan Branch Trail, stated that the suspects approached their victims, held them at gunpoint, and made off with their phones, credit cards, driver’s licenses, and keys.
One of the suspects in this case was arrested on November 29. D.C. Superior Court and MPD reports state that 18-year old Jalique Wiseman, a resident of Southeast D.C., was identified as a suspect in a total of 18 robberies and a shooting. All the incidents occurred in Brookland and Edgewood within a few blocks of campus, many happening during daylight hours.
The police report states that a MPD detective saw Wiseman on foot a few blocks south of campus on 7th Street and recognized him as a suspect from security footage obtained during investigations. Plainclothes officers as well as uniformed patrol officers formed a plan with the detective and caught and arrested Wiseman after a foot pursuit. As of now, there have been no statements released regarding the second suspect.
Although Wiseman denied any involvement in the crimes when interviewed by detectives, the evidence as presented in court documents appears overwhelming. Wiseman was caught on video in many of the robberies; his email and Venmo account used credit cards stolen in the robberies, and his DNA was found on the clothes of one of the victims. Wiseman is being held in jail with no bond and is scheduled to appear in court on December 6.
Other incidents on Monroe Street during November include an attempted armed carjacking that happened around 2:50 am on November 23, two car thefts, one of which was actually committed inside the Monroe Street Market Apartments parking garage, and a burglary at the University Barnes and Noble bookstore.
In the Barnes and Noble case, a suspect broke the back door on the morning of November 27 and escaped with several electronics. The manager of the bookstore declined to comment and Barnes and Noble’s corporate office did not respond to a request for a statement.
No alerts regarding the November 23 attempted carjacking, a crime that normally triggers an informational alert, were sent to the CUA community by DPS or OEM. The thefts and burglary were also not reported and none of the four cases were broadcasted by AlertDC.
“The Department of Public Safety (DPS) regularly assesses reports of criminal activity in and around campus consistent with the Clery Act to provide effective notifications and timely warnings to students and employees for their safety and security,” said Kirk McLean, Associate Vice President for Public Safety and Emergency Management and Chief of DPS, in a statement. “Catholic University reviews the circumstance of the report in light of all the facts to determine if there is a serious or continuing threat to our students and employees and if issuance of the warning would allow community members to protect themselves. When there is any activity that gives the indication that our students or employees are under a serious or continuing threat, a timely warning is delivered.”
With the robbery suspect, Wiseman, behind bars, perhaps crime will ease in Brookland and Edgewood. Citywide statistics continue to be high, though, and budget and staffing constraints mean that MPD is not likely to be able to effect a drastic change in the near future.
All crimes reported in PSA 502 during November 2023. Image courtesy of DC Crime Cards.