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After Random Stabbing Near Barracks Row, Local Leaders Urge Calm and Vigilance

by Andrea Swalec January 20, 2015 at 1:25 pm 1,219 6 Comments

Police carDays after a man was stabbed by a stranger close to Eastern Market, the neighborhood’s ANC commissioners are advising locals to pay attention to their surroundings and engage with their community.

Following local outcry about random attacks, ANC Commissioner James Loots — who represents the area where the crime occurred — said he’s not concerned about an uptick in similar crimes.

“It could happen anywhere at any time,” said Loots, the representative for single-member district ANC 6B 03. “Other than the fact that it happened around the corner, I don’t think it portends anything negative about the safety of the neighborhood.

“As anywhere in the city, people need to be on the lookout and aware of their surroundings,” he continued.

ANC 6B Chair Kirsten Oldenburg, who represents the area east of where the crime occurred at 7th and G streets SE, advised locals to consider recent crimes in context. She has tracked Capitol Hill crime statistics since the 1990s and said the numbers are fairly consistent from month to month.

“There’s a baseline of crime problems we have, then there’s something that really frightens people,” she said. “You need to put it into perspective … There’s stuff happening every day on our streets.”

Loots, who has lived on the Hill since 1984, said he was happy with the First District police who patrol the neighborhood.

“Generally speaking, there is tremendous police visibility and presence here,” he said. “We see officers on bike patrol all the time. There’s just a fairly good level of security and comfort.”

The stabbing victim was riding his bike on the 700 block of 7th Street SE on Jan. 13 when he was attacked by a boy under age 18, police said. He received non-life-threatening injuries.

Crime has dropped in the past year in the police service area, 106, where the cyclist was attacked. District crime statistics show 60 violent crimes in the area from Jan. 1, 2014 through Jan 1. 2015, compared with 71 crimes in the same period the previous year. Property crimes also fell within that period, from 560 reports to 528 reports.

In the First District as a whole, violent crime fell 11.5 percent in the past year, while property crime rose 9 percent.

Oldenburg said she was most concerned about bike theft and package theft on the Hill.

“Those are the kind of crimes that hit the most people and make them feel the most uneasy about the neighborhood,” she said.

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