Street robberies on the rise in Northwest D.C.

WASHINGTON —  As summer winds down, crime is ramping up in D.C.

“We’re finding theft from auto (and) stolen autos are very popular citywide,” said Lt. Alan Hill with D.C. Police. “We’re finding that street robberies are starting to pick up.”

Hill, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier and Neighborhood Watch Trainer Samantha Nolan spoke at a recent community meeting at Forest Hills Senior Living Center in Northwest. Ward 3 Councilwoman Mary Cheh also was involved.

“A lot of our street robberies are crimes of opportunity,” Lanier said.

Lanier advised against walking along the sidewalk with your head down, looking at your smartphone — something even she has does at times.

Nolan said walking around while watching your phone is like walking around carrying hundreds of dollars in cash in your hands.

“People don’t consider their electronics as money, but to a robber it’s money and often it’s drug money,” Nolan said.

Lanier said if someone’s trying to take your property, consider the safest option.

“Give them the property and let them walk away  because that’s all they want,” Lanier said .

Another tip: When you park your car, try not to leave anything of value in it.

“If there’s something in the car that can be seen, they (robbers) will smash the windows to try to take it,  even if it’s just quarters for parking,” Nolan said.

Anytime you see anything suspicious, Lanier said don’t hesitate to call police. “Don’t worry about us being overburdened,” Lanier said. “This is what we do, so err on the side of caution.”

If you live in D.C. and are interested in starting a neighborhood watch, you can get more information about training sessions at

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Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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