The Metropolitan Police Department is increasing efforts to curb assaults and robberies in the Foggy Bottom area, MPD Lt. Alesia Wheeler-Moore said at a community meeting last week.
MPD officers have been focusing on Pennsylvania Avenue between 21st and 26th streets and will pay extra attention to the Foggy Bottom Metro station, where suspects have been “getting away,” Wheeler-Moore said at the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2A meeting last Wednesday.
Wheeler-Moore urged residents at the meeting to be aware of their surroundings and to avoid talking on their cell phones when walking alone late at night.
“I know someone may call you, but it’s a safety thing because you’re not aware of your surroundings and you have some kids coming up there that’ll snatch your phone,” Wheeler-Moore said. “Talking on your phone and walking, you don’t know what’s going to happen. Sometimes you don’t even notice what’s beside you.”
Though there has only been one robbery in September in the Police Service Area 207, where GW is located, 11 have been reported since May 1, several of which involved assaults. University Police Department Chief Dolores Stafford said last month that robberies tend to increase in periods of warm weather, around the holiday season and when the economy is down.
Police are also focusing extra manpower on the stretch of Virginia Avenue between 21st and 24th streets, where crosswalks on both ends of an underpass have created what some residents have called an unsafe situation.
Wheeler-Moore said a traffic officer has been posted on 24th Street during morning rush hours and that approximately 55 tickets have been written for failure to give right of way to pedestrians. A second officer will be posted during the evening rush hours, and the speedometer that has sat on 24th Street will be moved to 21st Street, near the International House residence hall, where a woman was struck by a speeding car in July.
The ANC also passed a motion to contact the District Department of Transportation to request a safety audit for that stretch of Virginia Avenue.