Since late last year and well into 2012, there has been an increase in armed robberies and street muggings in the District. Some of the crimes have taken place in upscale neighborhoods in Northwest, D.C., such as Tenleytown and Friendship Heights that border the District line with Maryland's Chevy Chase and Bethesda neighborhoods. In some cases, the robbers have brandished handguns during the robberies. Authorities say cellphones and other personal electronic devices are being targeted.
The Metropolitan Police Department says they have rolled out 200 additional officers to address the spike in street crime, especially those muggings where personal electronic devices were stolen.
The MPD is also offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the arrests and conviction of people involved in those robberies and the sale of stolen electronic devices.
Police Chief Cathy Lanier says, however, the key to stopping these kinds of crimes is for the cell phone industry to allow these phones to be disabled if they are stolen. She says a similar program in the United Kingdom has proven very effective, and she says she is working with other police chiefs throughout the country to see if this can be instituted throughout the United States.