Property crimes in Ward 2 have increased more than 25 percent since last year.
More than 1,000 property crimes have occurred in Ward 2 since the beginning of 2019 – outpacing the roughly 800 that took place over the same time period last year. Ward 2 has seen the largest number of property crimes this year and the biggest increase compared to last year, according to Metropolitan Police Department data.
Property crimes include burglary, theft and arson. The number of crimes recorded so far this year is the second-highest number recorded at least over the past decade in Ward 2, second only to the 1,060 property crimes recorded over the first three months of 2016, according to MPD data.
Since 2010, property crimes in Ward 2 have increased about 85 percent. Wards 3, 5 and 6 have also seen more property crimes since the beginning of the year, with increases of 138, 111 and 103, respectively. Wards 1, 4, 7 and 8 saw dips in property crime rates, according to MPD data.
Overall, thefts and arsons have gone up about 9 percent citywide this year.
MPD spokeswoman Brianna Jordan said the department has recently launched a campaign to encourage drivers to take steps to prevent the chance of thefts occurring, like taking their keys out of vehicles and securing their belongings. She added that MPD urges victims of theft to “immediately” contact police and file a report.
Thefts from cars in Ward 2 have soared about 53 percent over the past year, accounting for the majority of the increase.
“MPD is committed to educating the public about the importance of preventing theft from autos,” Jordan said in an email. “In fact, MPD recently rolled out a theft-from-auto campaign, which is intended to remind all drivers to remove their valuables from their vehicles prior to exiting out of their cars.”
She declined to say what factors may have caused an increase in property crimes in Ward 2 and across the District.
Marina Streznewski, the president of the Foggy Bottom Association, said residents “have the power” to prevent property crimes but are not being “careful” enough to make sure their cars are locked and belongings are not visible. She said people need to ensure that they are not “totally oblivious” of their surroundings.
“I think that what the police can do is not as significant as what the residents of Ward 2 can do to bring that rate down,” Streznewski said. “Honestly, I’m not sure that the police can do very much to prevent property crime if people aren’t careful with their property.”
William Carbone, a senior lecturer and the executive director of justice programs at the University of New Haven, said an increase in valuable items in affluent areas, like new technology, may contribute to a jump in property crimes. He said people may look in cars for money or smaller valuables like GPS technology that can be “easily” sold.
“I think there’s a belief that if you’re going to find things of value, you’re more likely to find them in more affluent areas,” he said.
Carbone said community members can help reduce property crimes by taking measures to secure their homes and cars, like keeping their cars locked and in garages and installing home security systems.
“There are all kinds of preventive measures that citizens can take to reduce property crimes,” he said. “They call these crimes of routine activities because the victim, in fact, can be the enabler on the crime by not taking proper precautions.”
This article appeared in the March 4, 2019 issue of the Hatchet.