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Capitol Hill Meeting to Address Crime Spike

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In the wake of a spike in violent crime in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, 6th Ward Councilmember Tommy Wells and Metropolitan Police Department 1st District Commander Daniel Hickson will hold a meeting Tuesday with area residents to address safety concerns.

The meeting - which was sparked by an incident last week in which Capitol Hill resident Thomas Maslin was beaten into a coma and found on the porch of a home just a few houses down from the residence of a U.S. Senator - will begin at 7 p.m. at the Hill Center, 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE.

"Residents are concerned," Wells said in a statement on his website. "We need to work together to assure that our neighborhoods are safe."

Maslin's assault is just one of the violent crimes that have taken place in the 1st police district this year, part of a 10 percent spike in violent crime from the same time last year, according to the Washington Examiner. The 1st district encompasses the Capitol complex and the surrounding Capitol Hill neighborhood, all the way to the Anacostia River.

And while this spike has the Capitol Hill community on edge, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Ivan Frishberg said that past crime surges have been squashed by an increased Metropolitan Police Department presence in the neighborhood, an outcome he is hopeful will happen again.

"When we had a more significant increase in crime at the end of the last calendar year, [the MPD] had a pretty strategic response that ultimately resulted in arrests, and crime fell," Frishberg said. "My sense was that they had a pretty good handle on why we were experiencing that increase, and certainly at the meeting on Tuesday we will get into the nitty-gritty about this increase."

Residents of the neighborhood have already seen an increased MPD presence, with officers on bicycles patrolling the streets.

MPD spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said the MPD is using a variety of strategies, including working cooperatively with neighbors and other law enforcement partners to drive down crime, and she pointed to 41 robbery arrests in the last 60 days as proof that the department's efforts are having an effect.

"We are working tirelessly to address ALL types of robberies throughout the city through comprehensive strategies," Crump said in an email. "We have several teams of officers to prevent robberies and to also arrest offenders. While it won't change overnight, our work seems to be having an impact."

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