From The Washington Post: A shaken Washington copes with surging violence: ‘This is not normal’
Stephanie Heishman, a Northwest Washington event planner, knows she may sound almost absurdly cautious as she describes how, after a regular Sunday dinner at a friend’s house five blocks away, she travels by car instead of walking home.
She has her reasons. A year ago, she was awakened by gunfire outside her Adams Morgan apartment building and from her seventh-floor window saw a car speeding away. In August, after a night out with friends, her Uber driver couldn’t reach her building because police had blocked off a street where bullets had just killed two men and fatally wounded a third.
“It’s so ridiculous,” Heishman, 44, said of the precautions she takes to feel safer. “On the other hand, I don’t want to randomly get shot.”
Violent crime has long been a part of Washington life, the worst of it during the early 1990s when drug trafficking propelled the annual homicide toll to nearly 500 and D.C. earned an inglorious reputation as America’s “Murder Capital.”
The volume of carnage these days is not nearly as high, and most D.C. residents are unlikely to ever be a victim of violence. Yet a sharp rise in crime over the past year — punctuated by reports of homicides, brazen shootings, and carjackings by armed teenagers — is rattling a city already struggling to recover from a pandemic that upended its rhythms and ravaged its once-thriving downtown.