DC Is Seeing a Troubling Crime Trend, and It Involves Kids

11-year-old boy is charged in armed robberies, and he's not alone
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted May 31, 2023 12:07 PM CDT
DC Cops: 11-Year-Old Went on a Crime Spree
A Washington Metropolitan Police car in this 2022 file photo.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Police in Washington, DC, arrested a suspect on Saturday in connection with three armed attempted robberies. Perhaps not so unusual. What seems unusual: The suspect is an 11-year-old boy, though the Washington Post reports that it's actually not so unusual, and is the latest in what appears to be an increasing trend in youth violence in the nation's capital. As USA Today reports, police responded to a report of a suspect who approached a victim in broad daylight on May 21, told the victim to fork over belongings, and when refused, the suspect pulled out a gun and ran off with said belongings.

The same scenario repeated on May 24, only the victim, Ryan Cummins, shoved the assailant, and fled—but says the assailant pointed a gun at him as he ran. "When I shoved him, he weighed nothing," Cummins tells the Post. The third robbery was Friday, when a suspect on a bike told the victim to hand over their belonging and reached into a fanny pack "as if they were armed," per police. The robber made off with the loot. The 11-year-old boy has been charged in the three incidents. But, as the Post reports, the charges come amid a surge of violence involving kids—both as victims and assailants.

The founder of nonprofit Guns Down Friday tells the Post that high school aged kids are now bringing younger siblings out on the streets. "Back in the day, that was against the code. You protected your younger siblings against things going on in the world," says Jawanna Hardy. Her program is now concentrating on kids under 13, because kids as young as 15 or 16 have already seen so much bloodshed that it's "hard to get them not to retaliate. The pain was so deep." (More juvenile crime stories.)

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