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Criminals Are Flocking To Capitol Hill To Rob ‘Easy Targets’

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Criminals from nearby Maryland are flocking to Capitol Hill to rob people they see as easy targets, according to the neighborhood’s top cop.

First District Commander Jeff Brown told a group of neighborhood representatives Tuesday night that of the 24 people arrested for robbery in the last six months, just one criminal came from the District of Columbia.

The other 23 came from across the Anacostia River in Prince George’s County, Md. Brown said he debriefs the criminals after they are arrested and they tell him they are actively targeting the hill.

“We got together and we said we’re going to the Capitol Hill area and robbing people,” Brown said one of the criminals told him.

The trend right now, Brown said, is for people to go to Capitol Hill to commit robberies and steal cars. The criminals will take the cars back to Maryland, switch the tags, and then go back to rob more people.

According to Brown, violent crime is down 32 percent in the neighborhood over the last 30 days. Compared to the same time last year, however, violent crime is up 23 percent, and residents say they are starting to feel the burn.

Jennifer Samolyk, a representative in Capitol Hill’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission, said she has never been so scared to walk down her own street. (RELATED: A Strange New Mugging Trend Is Sweeping Capitol Hill)

“I used to walk to and from the ANC meetings. My husband drove me tonight,” she said. “I’ve lived on the hill since 1999 and I’ve always felt comfortable walking around the neighborhood. I don’t feel comfortable anymore.”

Brown responded to the criticism by saying it takes time to solve these issues, and the police are trying to make criminals understand that D.C. residents won’t be held victim any longer.

“What we need to do as law enforcement officers, we have to get the word out to these guys that it’s not an easy target over here,” he said. “Once we send that message back that it’s not prime picking over here, that word will get back to their friends and they will cease their activities.”

Samolyk said she’s called police in the past and dispatchers were less than helpful. In one particular case, she said, she called to report a string of car alarms going off, seemingly caused by someone walking down the street smashing car windows, and the dispatcher refused to send a police officer to respond.

“They’re more blatant. I saw two guys casing my street tonight. I watched them as they walked and looked in everybody’s car,” she said.

In late October, residents from Capitol Hill gathered to discuss the surge in violence with local police and political leaders. In response, police said they would dedicate more officers and resources to the area, though it has done little to decrease the violence.

On a single day in November, five robberies were committed on the hill within hours of each other.

The first occurred around 3:50 p.m. when three suspects, described as black male teens wearing dark hoodies, robbed a victim at gunpoint and stole their belongings.

Just an hour later, another robbery occurred three blocks away by thugs with a similar description. According to police, three black male juveniles wearing hoodies held a victim up and again stole their belongings.

Thirty minutes after that robbery, just before 6 p.m., four black teenage males on bikes robbed a person at gunpoint on the east side of Capitol Hill.

Just a minute later, and two blocks away, suspects with the same description robbed another victim.

Around 11 p.m., a woman reported that four black males with a gun stole her backpack on the opposite side of the hill.

So, while police say crime is down, residents don’t feel that way.

“What you’re seeing as a decrease, I’m seeing as smashed windows,” Samolyk told Brown.

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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.