Crime and Courts

Business Owners Voice Concerns About Violent Crime in DC as Nightlife Returns

As more people venture out, the head of a nonprofit in Shaw said it's important for crowds to feel safe, and that a heightened police presence can do that

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Residents and business owners are voicing their concerns about an increase in violent crime just as bars and restaurants are reopening in the District after two separate shooting incidents in areas known for their vibrant nightlife.

One of the shootings Friday night took place in the Shaw neighborhood and left a man dead and a woman injured. 

D.C. Police were called to 7th and T streets at about 9:45 p.m., just down the street from the Howard Theater, which remains closed. 

There are candles in the place where the shooting happened, and police have put up temporary lights and a camera across the street. 

"It was only a matter of time to be honest," said Alexander Padro, who heads a nonprofit dedicated to revitalizing Shaw's commercial corridors called Shaw Main Streets. "We've got a huge increase in open-air drug sales, open-air, illegal craps games."

Padro said there’s been an uptick in crime that’s affecting businesses as they try to welcome back customers now that capacity and mask restrictions have been lifted.

"We can only imagine that if we don't get a lot more police attention shortly as people do come back and as the summer proceeds, we're going to have a lot of problems," he said.   


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The area around the crime scene is a busy one. Even as a business owner was speaking to News4, another incident occurred -- a crash involving a woman on a scooter. 

More officers have been in the area because of Friday’s killing, and there was a quick police response. The woman was not injured.

Concerned owners, however, are asking themselves what happens when they leave.

Rob Heim is the general manager of Shaw’s Tavern, located a couple of blocks from the shooting.  

"A lot of car break-ins, we've had some juvenile activity that have been bothering guests, throwing rocks, throwing light bulbs, climbing in windows of the tavern while we’re open," Heim said.

As more people venture out, Padro said it's important for them to feel safe, and that heightened police presence can do that.


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