Rising Crime in D.C. Leaves Wide Swath of Victims

Dr. Munr Kazmir
5 min readNov 22, 2023

From Capitol Hill to Georgetown to Penn Quarter, the District is drowning in a crime wave.

Photo by Stewart Munro on Unsplash.

How do you fight shoplifting?” wondered the Washington Post editorial board on November 18, 2023. “Not by locking down everything in CVS.

“Shoppers visiting the CVS Pharmacy at 14th and Irving streets NW in Washington recently must think they traveled back in time to the Soviet Union,” began the editorial board. “The store’s shelves are bare. The refrigerator cases are devoid of food or beverages. When we visited, only sunscreen and greeting cards were on display. But the bizarre scene is not a result of a failed planned economy; rampant theft is the cause.”

Shoplifting Trends: What You Need to Know,” wrote Ernesto Lopez, Robert Boxerman, and Kelsey Cindiff in a recent report for the Council on Criminal Justice.

“Since shortly after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Council on Criminal Justice has tracked changing rates of violent and property crime in large cities across the United States,” began the trio. “The pandemic, as well as the social justice protests during the summer of 2020 and other factors, have altered the motives, means, and opportunities to commit crimes.”

“Retail theft, especially organized retail theft, has received extensive media coverage and has caught the attention of policymakers,” they revealed. “Dozens of shoplifting and ‘smash and grab’ incidents in a variety of cities have been captured on video and have gone viral on social and mass media. Major grocers, drugstores, and other retail outlets have cited shoplifting as their reason for closing multiple locations and placing goods behind counters and in locked cases.”

“The strongest predictor to reduced criminal behavior is the belief they will get caught,” lead author Ernesto Lopez told the Washington Post, in perhaps the greatest understatement on criminal psychology of all time.

Of course, rampant organized shoplifting isn’t the worst criminal problem dampening holiday spirits in Washington, D.C. this year.

As carjackings spike, police need to be able to chase vehicles again,” the Washington Post editorial board wrote on October 30, 2023.