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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Attacks by Teen Groups Rising in D.C. and Nation

D.C. police say they are seeing a growing number of teenagers and young adults traveling in groups to assault and rob unsuspecting citizens, a trend that mirrors crimes in cities across the country.

In an eight-hour period last week, five people were attacked by juveniles in separate incidents, including an armed carjacking, in the Southwest waterfront neighborhood. And in the past month, there have been between seven and 11 "pack robberies" in or near Adams Morgan in Northwest Washington, Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said.

Similar attacks have occurred in the Brookland area of Northeast and Chinatown. Police said the crimes are not necessarily related but are part of an increase that has led to heightened enforcement.

"They're looking for someone who has a cellphone or someone using an iPod. Or they're just looking for some fast cash or a credit card," Lanier said Friday at a news conference in Adams Morgan, where she announced that there will be more patrols there. "You'll have a lone person walking, and there are five young males or more, and it's ridiculous. There's no need to beat people in those circumstances, but that's what they do. Just senseless."

The attacks in Southwest unfolded between 5 p.m. Monday and 1 a.m. Tuesday. The trouble began when five teenagers on bicycles attacked a man from behind, pushed him to the ground, hit him in the face and stomach, and fled. Police said they think that the attackers were between 16 and 18 years old. [Mark Godsey]

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