Gang Violence in Washington DC
A DC Resident's Point Of View
Living in Washington, DC all my life has it's pros and con's like any other city, but here you learn life lessons and street lessons at the same time. I always enjoyed going downtown with my family and having the advantages of the sights in the nations capitol at my doorstep but as time went on and I grew up and went to various schools, I lost a lot of friends along the way. It did not matter if you were a girl or a boy, you could still be a victim or just happen to be outside playing and a stray bullet could hit you or a friend.
Losing my classmates, family members and others, made me realize that I did not want to be a statistic in the dangerous streets of Washington DC. I had already went to 100 funerals by the time I was 25 years old. I know this for sure because I keep an album of all the obituaries I have gotten over the years. It is really a sad thing because you have to grow up fast and always prepare yourself for the fact that your best friend or favorite teacher may not be there on Monday morning due to some unnecessary weekend violence in the city.
One problem I see with the spike in crime is that people are very poor in the District of Columbia. A Lot of people can not get good jobs because they are drop outs, on drugs or just do not have the means and childcare assistance. You have a lot of fatherless households and the kids feel like they have to do what they got to do to take care of the family no matter what the consequences are.
Sometimes these consequences can be probation, jail or of course being murdered but when you are hungry, you would be surprised what you would do. Selling drugs seems to be the highest paid income in D.C. except for anyone working on Capitol Hill and most kids see it as a easy way out when they have been rejected for jobs or are not old enough to work. People fight and kill each other everyday over drugs, guns, money and anything that you can name because everyone is struggling.
Berry Farms Housing Complex: S.E. DC
The D.C. Correctional Facitlity
When these teens get caught up they are usually given probation because most of them are so young that it is not much that can be done. So they take it lightly and be back out on the block before the court date is even attended. Of course with the poverty rate in the District of Columbia it takes a lot more to keep these folks out of the streets.
The D.C. Jail is a Correctional Facility in D.C. that houses pre-trial offenders, sentenced misdemeanants and convicted felons awaiting transfer to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Females are not housed in the same area as the males but there is a building on the lot called CTF (Correctional Treatment Facility) where they are sent.The Correctional Facility was opened in March 1976 and was meant to only house 1900 inmates but as of today it houses over 2400. Overcrowded is an understatement at the D.C. Jail so a lot of inmates clash from incidents that happened out on the streets of the city. The disagreements sometimes start at the jail and escalate into the streets and that's how a lot of murder and assaults happen.
It was recently an incident in D.C. where a man was riding in his car with his family and had a Dallas Cowboy's Flag on his car. Now you know how D.C. is about the Redskin's thing, but on this particular day there was know fun and games at all. Someone pulled up beside him and confronted him about the flag. There were some words exchanged and then the unthinkable happened. He was shot and killed and left in the middle of the street in S.E. I personally thought that was a damn shame and of course the murder has turned into a cold case.
There are a lot of unsolved murders and shootings in the District of Columbia. I had a neighbor who was a grandmother and her granddaughter lived with her. She was only 5 years old and she was hit by a stray bullet while sitting on her bed doing homework. What did she do to deserve that?? Nothing and it sparked outrage in the community about how these cases were handled. The new Police Chief Cathy Lanier first became chief a little over two years ago, she began meeting with family members who asked to see her. She was very saddened about how a lot of families were forgot about and left in the dark about the latest suspects and progress in there family members murder cases. She has stepped up and done a wonderful job in helping find the answers to over 20 cases since she has been the chief including The famous Chandra Levy case.
Washington, D.C. has also stepped it up by making it mandatory that all public school students and charter school students in D.C. wear uniforms. it eliminates more than 50% of the disagreements and problems because before, a lot of poor students would be treated wrongly and teased because of their lack of name brand clothing and the area where they lived. This torture would be responsible for a lot of school shootings and fights as well as making the drop out rates soar.
The Deadliest Drive-by Shooting In Washington D.C. In Years - March 30th 2010
As authorities tell it, the wheelman wasn't a man but a boy, 14, driving a silver Chrysler minivan with three passengers, at least two of them adults. When they were done shooting, police said, four victims lay dead or dying, and five others were bleeding from wounds.
The assailants carried at least three weapons, investigators said: an AK-47-style assault rifle, which police later recovered, and two handguns, a 9mm and a .45-caliber, identified from shell casings found at the scene of the carnage.
It was one of the deadliest outbreaks of violence in the District in years: a drive-by shooting into a crowd of people, many of them teenagers, whose bodies fell in piles that fatal night, Tuesday March 30th 2010. Of course panic and chaos ensued. The suspects sped away, chased by police cars and a helicopter in a frantic pursuit that left four officers slightly injured in a collision of cruisers and ended with the youth and two adults in handcuffs.
The reason for the mayhem? It might have begun with something this trivial: a missing bracelet. "My child barely weighed 100 pounds . . . shot in the temple with an AK-47 . . . bullets all in her body. It's senseless," said Nardyne Jefferies, the mother of 16-year-old Brishell Jones, who was killed. Based on evidence and interviews thus far, authorities think the attack was part of a cycle of retaliation spawned a week before by suspicions of petty theft. "It looks to be just that silly," said one law enforcement official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing.
Investigators said they think the mass shooting in the 4000 block of South Capitol Street Southeast in the Washington Highlands neighborhood in DC is linked to the fatal shooting of Jordan Howe, 20, in Southeast Washington a week earlier. That incident was prompted by a man's anger over his missing gold-colored bracelet, according to investigators and court documents. At least some of the victims had just attended Howe's funeral earlier that day, law enforcement officials said.
Police theorize that Howe's killing, early March 22, led to more gunfire a day later, ultimately resulting in the shootings on March 30th 2010. Besides Jones, DaVaughn Boyd, 18, and William Jones III, 19, have been identified as victims. Late the next night, police identified the fourth victim as Tavon Nelson, 17.
At a news conference March 31st 2010, D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier confirmed the three-part chain of violence. "There is no more egregious retaliation than to shoot nine people and have four people dead," she said at the scene of the drive by shootings. "That's unacceptable."
Devole Thompson, 40, of District Heights confirmed in an interview that Boyd, his son, was among those killed. He said Boyd had just returned to his grandmother's house in the District after Howe's funeral and had told his grandmother that he was going to a store on South Capitol Street with a friend. He never returned, Thompson said.
The adults arrested, Nathaniel D. Simms, 26, and Orlando Carter, 20,
both charged with first-degree murder, made their initial appearances in D.C. Superior Court and were ordered jailed to await
further hearings. This year on March 30th 2011, a peaceful vigil was held at the scene of the deadly shooting. There were a lot of family members of victims and neighborhood politicians in attendance and it was very moving.
Ballou Senior High School In S.E. D.C.
Ballou Senior High School
Ballou Senior High School, along with plenty of other high schools in the D.C. area, has seen it's share of problems over the years. Most of the arguments get brought to school from neighborhood fights or just because they do not like the block you live on or so on. Which is ridiculous because if you have ever been to D.C. then you know that it is too small to be fighting block to block. You have 5th street beefing with 7th street!! That is only two damn blocks it's crazy. So if you live on 5th street and the neighborhood store is on 7th street, you are at risk of being shot!! This is the real deal here on a daily basis at times especially in the summer. Ballou dealt with this violence daily also inside the walls of the school. On February 2nd 2004 a 19-year-old named Thomas J. Boykin shot and killed a 17-year-old named James Richardson. Boykin was later acquitted on the charge of murder.
Ballou Senior High School In A Positive Light
Ballou has since changed a lot of security problems they had and organized a lot of programs to help curb the violence and help make the school the example of integrity it use to be. The band has been featured all around the United States and there is also a documentary coming soon about the school and its band who I must say is the best in Washington , D.C. They have also appeared on the "Ellen DeGeneres Show" recently with honors.
I think that the murder rate has gone down since 2009 has started but I still know there is a lot more that can be done to change the communities in the nation's capitol today and beyond. Together we can make a change in all inner cities to help with the crime, poverty and incarceration rates.