|Warning to riders/residents of 97% black area of D.C.|
Metro says that Metrobuses traveling in parts of Southeast Washington are being pelted with rocks. As part of a campaign to discourage this, police are distributing a flier reminding people not to throw rocks at buses or cars.
The Metro Transit Police and Metropolitan Police Department have been distributing the flier, which features a reminder that throwing rocks at vehicles is a crime. It also includes 911 as well as numbers for D.C. police (202-727-9099) and the transit police (202-962-2121, which riders may or may not recognize as the number repeated in system-wide announcements).
The population of Southeast is predominantly African-American, particularly east of the Anacostia River. Despite widespread poverty and overall high crime rates for the quadrant, there are Black middle class neighborhoods, such as Hillcrest, Penn Branch, and Fort Dupont. Throughout the Southeast area (except for the gentrified Eastern Market area closest to the United States Capitol), basic shopping, dining, entertainment, and cultural facilities are minimal and scanty, so that residents must travel either downtown or to the suburbs for such services. Cultural events/activities include the annual Martin Luther King Birthday parade, the free weekly summer jazz concerts in Fort Dupont Park, the Fort Dupont ice-rink, the Anacostia Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, and the tennis and learning center for youth on Mississippi Avenue. The population of the southeast quadrant is roughly 134,800 and is about 97% African American.
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Metro has withdrawn a plan to discontinue night bus service in parts of Southeast Washington where the transit agency says buses are routinely pelted with rocks.
City leaders, including Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D), had protested Metro’s plan to discontinue some night bus service in Southeast, saying the agency had not justified the change. With many Ward 8 residents needing public transit, any cuts in bus service should not be made lightly, they said.Council member Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), who represents the District on the Metro board of directors, had also said that cutting service for safety reasons was unacceptable.
The areas off Stanton Road where Metro was proposing to stop night service are places where shootings and other violent crimes are common and include bus stops at Jasper Road, Robinson Place, Bruce Place and Elvans Road.
At the meeting Monday night at the Angels of Hope Ministries, residents and community leaders called on law enforcement to more actively investigate the attacks, which they say are also directed at cars. Some residents said they could not understand why Metro would propose to cut service when other parts of the city also have seen rock attacks.
“Is it because of the population here, is it because of the fact that we make less money over in this ward, is it because of the academic status of this particular ward?” said the Rev. Alfred L. Harrison, co-founder of the ministry.
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