CRIME

Violent crime on increase in D.C.

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Despite a dramatic drop in murders, violent crime in the District is up. Armed robberies are surging in many parts of the city.

So far this year, nearly 600 robberies have been reported across the city--that's a 30 percent increase from 2011. Upper Northwest has seen the biggest jump, with a 250 percent increase over the same time last year. In nearly half of the robberies, the attackers threatened the victims with a gun.

Tenleytown has been hit the hardest and residents are talking about how the crime has impacted the community. Longtime residents say they haven't seen this since the 1980s.

"It makes me feel somewhat unsafe and the need to be extremely careful," said Jean Mammen, NW resident.

Residents are most concerned with the fact more robberies are happening at gunpoint.

"That's actually the lynchpin of our concern, that these are armed robberies and guns are involved," an Upper NW resident said.

Residents are also concerned about where the robberies are occurring.

"So many are occurring on the neighborhoods streets rather than on the busy arteries like Wisconsin and Connecticut avenues," said a NW resident.

Many resident said they are taking extra precautions as a result of the spike in the armed robberies.

"My wife was walking back from Mazza Gallery the other night and I had her call before she left, so I'd know when to expect her," said Patrick Scott, Upper NW resident. "I wouldn't normally do that."

Another resident said they were leaving their porch light on.

Many believe the police are handling the spike the best they can.

"It's disturbing, but I have faith in Chief (Cathy) Lanier. She'll solve this problem," a resident said.

So far this year, police have made more than 150 arrests for robberies, including 24 in the past week.

The Guardian Angels are now starting to patrol the neighborhood. On Monday, they were on the streets handing out fliers with tips about keeping safe.

This Thursday at 7 p.m., D.C.Council member Mary Cheh and Chief Lanier will hold a Town Hall meeting at Deale Middle School to discuss what police are doing.

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