WASHINGTON, DC – A savage attack in a Capitol Hill neighborhood over the weekend that left a 29-year-old man in a coma has residents there on alert over the increasing frequency of violent crime in an area of the city popular with young professionals.
Since the beginning of the year, the number of robberies in the area has increased by 64 percent over the previous year. While it’s unclear whether Thomas Maslin, who was reportedly struck in the back of the head with a blunt object, was robbed during the Saturday attack, residents in the area say they have noticed an uptick in robberies.
“There’s a sense of more brazenness and more incidents with guns,” said Ivan Frishberg, an Advisory Neighborhood Commission representative from the neighborhood where the attack took place. “We had a pretty significant spike in crime last year. The spike was driven by a couple of groups of young people who were specifically targeting people for a smart phone or a purse.”
WTTG-TV (Channel 5) reported that Mr. Maslin had attended a Washington Nationals game on Friday night and had stopped for a few drinks with friends before heading home at about 12:45 a.m.
Within the boundaries of the police service area that encompasses most of Capitol Hill, 42 robberies committed without the use of a gun and 14 robberies during which a gun was used were reported this year as of Sunday. Last year, there were 28 robberies without guns and eight robberies with guns during the same period. Robberies comprise the majority of the neighborhoods violent crime, with no homicides reported there this year and only seven assaults and one sex abuse.
Across the District, both reports of robberies and assaults — particularly those involving the use of a handgun — are up this year compared to last year, according to data from the Metropolitan Police Department. Though homicides are significantly down, overall violent crime is up by 9 percent.
Mr. Maslin, the husband Brent Elementary School teacher Abby Maslin, was assaulted while walking home early Saturday morning, according to reports on the incident. He was found at about 8:30 a.m. on a porch in the 700 block of North Carolina Avenue Southeast and since his admission to the hospital has undergone brain surgery, the school’s principal Peter Young said in a statement on the school’s website.
“We’re used to some underlying lever of street crime here but very, very rarely do we see consequences like this that are so severe,” Mr. Frishberg said.
In July, well-known D.C. political strategist and Fox News contributor David Mercer also suffered a brain injury during an attack about seven blocks north of the site where Mr. Maslin was found. In that incident, the man suffered a severe cut to the back of his head during an altercation with three men outside of a Northeast 7-Eleven on Maryland Avenue after his cell phone was taken inside the store when he put it down to make a purchase.