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Upper Northwest DC residents gather, hold meeting about crime in the area

Four high-profile crimes have happened near Van Ness and Connecticut in the last two months, including last Friday's quadruple shooting from an apartment building.

WASHINGTON — Friday's quadruple shooting at the AVA Building on Van Ness Street was the latest in a series of high-profile, violent crimes to occur along the Connecticut Avenue corridor. Now, residents there are trying to come up with solutions to put an end to crime in the area.

In the last two months, ANC 3F, which surrounds Connecticut Avenue near the University of the District of Columbia has experienced a quadruple shooting from an apartment building, a quintuple shooting at a hotel, a fatal shooting at an ambassador's residence and a domestic dispute that caused a woman to jump out of an eight-story window.

Metropolitan Police Data shows crime here has jumped 44% year-to-date.

On Monday, ANC 3F held a community meeting with MPD Second District Commander Duncan Bedlion and Ward 3 DC Councilmember Mary Cheh, among other local leaders, about how to decrease crime.

Northwest D.C. resident Kathy Sykes said all the recent violence in the area provided the community a chance to come together and solve a problem.

"Clearly, the three days in a row of events that dealt with guns in the neighborhood were very disconcerting," she said.

Some people at the meeting said they were frustrated with the District's housing voucher program, which they claim has done a poor job of screening the participants it relocates.

Cheh said there are some people in the program who have a history of severe mental illness.

"These folks need clinical help," she said. "Not just social workers and we need some way to get a grip on what's happening in these units."

But, ANC 3F Chair Claudette David noted law-abiding citizens in the program are still welcome in the neighborhood and that crime cannot be directly correlated to the program.

Still, she asked for what many other D.C. neighborhoods have asked for recently. David said she wants more police in the area and more services to help people suffering from mental illness or who may have other needs.

"We do know that there's no structure right now, it doesn't exist, for the caseworkers, for the building managers, police officers," she said. "We don't know if caseworkers know if someone called the police on one of their clients."

Alexandra Appah, the vice-chair of ANC 3F, added the issue is complex.

"This is a multi-layered issue that obviously impacts our community and impacts communities all the way across D.C."

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