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21 Oct 2023
Wendell Husebø

NextImg:Exclusive: Residents Fear Crime Surge Turning D.C. into American War Zone

Many Washington, DC, residents cannot walk their dog, enjoy a local park, or pick up groceries without fear of being stabbed, robbed, or gunned down in the District, a 68 square mile area that local residents described as a “war zone” to Breitbart News.

Just this week, five homicides occurred in 35 hours in three separate highly trafficked areas of the city: Benning neighborhood in Southeast, Capitol Hill in Northeast, and Brightwood in Northwest. One of them entailed a former Democrat staffer for a District council member. Another shocking incident occurred Monday when four men jumped out of a car in the well-to-do Wharf neighborhood with guns drawn to rob restaurantgoers, Metropolitan Police Department footage showed.

Crime soared in 2022 after U.S. Attorney for D.C. Matthew Graves refused to prosecute 67 percent of those arrested. In turn, 222 criminal homicides occurred in 2023, a 35 percent increase from the same period in 2022, according to police statistics. The District eclipsed 200 killings on August 12, the earliest point since the late 1990s. 

The District currently ranks 173 in safety on a list of 182 American cities, dropping from last year’s 168 spot, according to a study recently released by WalletHub.

Several District residents shared their crime stories with Breitbart News but asked to remain anonymous due to fear of retribution. One District resident recounted how he suffered a minor concussion in 2023 after juveniles assaulted him while walking on the Metropolitan Branch Trail in Northeast. The incident occurred near the H Street corridor, located just north of the Capitol Building. Residents in the area often see storefronts smashed and homeless defecating on the sidewalk.

Unprovoked, one of the juveniles ran up behind me, launched himself into the air, and slammed his fist into the back of my head,” the D.C. resident said. “It took the police fifteen minutes to reach me at the NoMa-Gallaudet Metro Station — an unacceptable amount of time. Even though the group could see me on the phone with emergency services, they continued to casually walk down the trail out of sight, with the assumed knowledge that there would be zero consequences for their actions.”

Another local resident who lives in Navy Yard told Breitbart News that President Joe Biden should pay attention to the “war zone in his backyard,” noting, “Washington, DC, is about as close as you will get to an American war zone in the U.S., and it’s only getting worse,” he said. “That’s hardly hyperbole; I’ve lost all sense of safety and security, and I live in one of the ‘better’ neighborhoods. I guess that’s what you get when you leave governance entirely to Democrats and a few socialists.”

U.S. President Joe Biden meets with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson in the Oval Office of the White House July 5, 2023 in Washington, DC. The two leaders are expected to discuss Sweden's bid to join NATO. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

U.S. President Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House July 5, 2023, in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The crime appears so out of control that some residents left the District. “The same day I moved into an apartment that was across the street from a metro stop, a shooting occurred there,” said a former resident who goes by the name of George Rolleo. “After that incident, there was a string of shootings in the neighborhood, and that gave me great concern for my safety,” he said. “Ultimately, I made the decision to leave the city and move to Virginia. I’ve had no regrets.”

Rolleo’s ability to leave the District is not attainable for everyone. Many inner-city families cannot afford the housing costs or increased commuting time to live outside the city, where former Congresswoman Liz Cheney and many other members of the establishment enjoy a tranquil existence. Most are stuck paying high rent in areas with high crime, even though they faithfully pay taxes to the Democrat-run government.

Taxpaying citizens are not the only residents who feel unsafe. Just in October, thieves carjacked Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) in Navy Yard, a community just south of the Capitol Building and home of the Nationals baseball team. “They came out of nowhere, and they pointed guns at me,” the congressman recounted the terrifying event. 

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, talks to a member of the media during a campaign event in San Antonio, May 4, 2022. Cuellar was carjacked late Monday, Oct. 2, 2023, in Washington’s Navy Yard area, about a mile from the U.S. Capitol, multiple media sources reported (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File).

The attack on Cuellar came after an incident involving Democrat Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN), whom a man attacked inside her apartment building in February. One month later, blocks away from the Capitol Building, an attacker randomly stabbed Sen Rand Paul’s (R-KY) staffer on the 1300 block of H Street. The suspect, identified as 42-year-old black district resident Glynn Neal, reportedly told law enforcement he launched the attack because “voices” in his head told him to do it.

Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., speaks during news conference unveiling of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday, June 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., speaks during news conference unveiling of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday, June 24, 2020 (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta).

The District Council’s reaction to the high profile violence disappointed many law-abiding taxpayers. Council chairman Phil Mendelson bluntly claimed before Congress in March that there was “not a crime crisis in Washington, DC.” Moments after Mendelson’s claim, a video captured Navy Yard, showing a carjacking incident just blocks away from the councilman’s physical location on Capitol Hill.

Carjackings seem common in the District. More than 760 carjackings occurred in 2023 so far, nearly doubling from the prior year, police statistics show.

“The message I hear from D.C. officials is all about helping the criminals: ‘What services do they need? How do we stop the cycle of crime and violence?'” the victim who suffered a concussion told Breitbart News. “All of these expensive, taxpayer-funded tactics are obviously not working.”

“What about the victims?” he asked. “We don’t need another task force. We need a simple and clear tough-on-crime stance. If you assault, batter, steal, you will be arrested, and you will go to jail. Without that message, D.C. will continue to spiral into violent chaos.”

“And no one is immune,” he added.

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality.