For residents of Truxton Circle and Bloomingdale, on the edge of Northwest and Northeast D.C., the problems start small: litter, loitering, street lights. They quickly get bigger: theft, robbery, homicide.
Last week’s killing of 33-year-old Bill Mitchell at the intersection of Florida Avenue and North Capitol Street has shaken a community that feels as if they are doing everything they can to stem that trajectory of decline.
“The entire community has been rocked by this,” said Lorna Hooks, executive director of North Capitol Main Street, a redevelopment group for the area. “We have a lot of robberies and a lot of theft. That the crime is becoming more aggressive and more violent, we do not want to see that escalate unchecked.”
At a community meeting Tuesday night, residents gathered to discuss public safety with the Metro Police Chief Cathy Lanier and District Commander Lamar Greene. Though many came to the meeting directly from a candlelight vigil at the corner where Mitchell was killed, their concerns had more to do with how police were handling public drunkeness, loitering, litter, street lights, police cameras.
“We’ve been fighting for a long time on some of these issues,” Hooks said. “We are vigilant and we are concerned. We see a lot of this becoming very aggresive and we are very concerned and we want to see all of these issues addressed now. [Mitchell’s killing] is such a sad sad occurrence for our community, but it has been a galvanizing force.”
For more about the social issues Truxton Circle and Bloomingdale residents want addressed, see Tom Usselman’s post “The problems at Florida & North Cap NW” on Bloomingdale.
If you live in this neighborhood, does this match what you’ve seen? We invite you to share your experiences in comments.