Protect America is the Largest Authorized Installer
of GE Home Security Systems Nationwide.
Free GE Home Security Systems
GE Home Security Systems are Wireless
No holes to drill
Home Security Systems are Monitored 24/7 - Low Rates
Products & Packages
Request Information Now
Whether you want protection for your home or a small business, the GE security system from Protect America will fulfill your security needs and most importantly, fit your budget. Here are just a few of the reasons to trust your security with a GE security system:
The District of Columbia is divided into eight wards. The total number of named neighborhoods is 127.
NoMa, Washington, D.C.
Southwest Federal Center
2005 U.S. Fire Statistics
A fire department responded to a fire every 20 seconds.
One structure fire was reported every 62 seconds.
One home structure fire was reported every 83 seconds
One civilian fire injury was reported every 29 minutes.
One civilian fire death occurred every 2 hours and 23 minutes.
One outside fire was reported every 39 seconds.
One vehicle fire was reported every 109 seconds.
In Triple Slaying, A Story of Heroism
Two Survivors Describe Victims' Lifesaving Acts
By Theresa Vargas
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 11, 2007; Page B01
As Judith Europa described how the father of her children shot and killed three people in a Woodbridge house, she clung to one positive: She and others were alive yesterday because two men were as intent on protecting those they loved as the gunman was on destroying them.
Europa said she was lying with four children on the floor of her sister's bedroom Sunday when Anastacio Sanchez-Miranda, 39, slipped into the Grandview Avenue house unnoticed, his jealousy seething. She and the children watched as her sister, Rosario Europa, 24, and brother-in-law, Juan Manuel Guevara, 28, were gunned down. Guevara had placed his body in front of Judith Europa and the children, she said.
"He was a good man. The best," Europa said in Spanish yesterday, standing outside the empty house. "He was a miracle to me."
Likewise, Carmen Vargas said her common-law husband, Gerardo Lopez Garcia, 25, died while protecting her and their daughter, who had celebrated her third birthday at the house the night before. Garcia was holding the door to their bedroom shut when he was killed, she said yesterday, sobbing.
"He gave his life for us," she said in Spanish, her small frame shaking. "He was our guardian angel."
The shooting, which occurred about 8:30 a.m., was the third triple homicide on record in Prince William County. The others occurred in 1978 and 2003, police said.
"Fortunately, it's very rare," said Paul B. Ebert, the Prince William commonwealth's attorney. "But when it happens, it's always horrible, and this case is no exception."
Sanchez-Miranda was being held yesterday in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; he went to a relative's house in Scranton after the slaying, authorities said. He is expected to be extradited to Prince William, where he is charged with three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony, Ebert said.
He said the charges are likely to be elevated to capital murder because of the number of victims. In addition to the three killed, two men, ages 18 and 30, were shot but are expected to recover.
Prince William police said 12 people were in the house at the time of the shooting, including five children. Police believe Sanchez-Miranda entered through an unlocked door before making his way upstairs to the bedrooms where the victims were shot.
Judith Europa was the intended target, police said.
"The information we have is they had ongoing domestic issues," said Kim Chinn, a police spokeswoman. "I don't think we know precisely exactly what the tipping point was."
"Jealousy" was all Europa said yesterday in trying to answer that question.
She and Sanchez-Miranda had been separated for a year, and he had accused her lately of having a boyfriend, family friend Maria Bidro said, standing next to Europa, helping to fill in the details of the couple's turbulent relationship. Europa said there was no other man.
"I never thought he'd do that," Europa said, adding that her children, ages 2, 5 and 8, who watched the shootings, are now "terrified" and that she doesn't know what to say to make them feel better. "I don't have an explanation for them."
She and the children had spent the night at her sister's house after attending the birthday party there the night before. Three deflated balloons lay in the front yard yesterday.
Vargas, 25, said that it was a beautiful party and that their daughter was the love of Garcia's life.
"At least I have her, so I don't feel so alone," she said. The couple had lived together for four years but had dated since they were teenagers. "He was a good man. He gave me my heart."
Both families were struggling yesterday to find a way to pay to send the bodies to Puebla, Mexico, the original home of the victims. For Europa's family, there was the cost of sending two bodies, and for Vargas, the struggle was how to pay for anything now that that the family's sole earner is gone. Garcia worked in construction while Vargas stayed home with their daughter.
"We have nothing," Vargas said.
Bidro watched Europa carefully, afraid her stoic exterior would crumble under the weight of what happened. Bidro said the families need all the help they can get in tending to those who died and those left behind. Rosario Europa and Juan Manuel Guevara leave behind a 1 1/2 -year-old son, now staying with relatives.
"He didn't have the right to kill people like this," Bidro said. "If you love someone, you don't hurt someone."
District of Columbia ( DC ) Crime and Security News
Killings In D.C. Up After Long Dip
Jump in Gun Crime Accompanies 2007 Death Toll of 181
By Allison Klein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 1, 2008; Page A01
Gun violence rose sharply in the District in 2007, with the number of homicides jumping 7 percent after several years of decline.
The city had recorded 181 killings as of late yesterday, an increase that police officials attributed in part to escalating violence in the drug trade and fighting among neighborhood gangs. Nonfatal shootings and other gun crimes were also up, preliminary police data show.
In the Washington region, only Prince George's County came close to the District in the number of homicides, recording 144 killings last year, up from 136 the year before. At one point, the county sought help from federal and state law enforcement officials to deal with a spike in homicides. But the overall number of homicides in the region remained steady from 2006, as increases in the District and Prince George's were offset by a substantial decline in Northern Virginia.
The increase in gun violence in the District comes as the city is waging a U.S. Supreme Court fight to preserve its 30-year-old gun law, one of the strictest in the nation. Critics have said the law violates Second Amendment rights and has been proved ineffective, as evidenced by the large number of guns that wind up on city streets. D.C. officials argue that matters would be even worse without the law.
Hoping to prevent more bloodshed, D.C. police are focusing on crime hot spots, putting more officers on street duty and upgrading technology. Officers recovered more than 2,900 guns in 2007, about 250 more than the previous year, and rejuvenated a unit designed to get firearms off the streets and determine how they are getting into the city.
The number of killings in the city had been declining since 2002, and D.C. officials said the increase should be put in perspective. This marked the fourth consecutive year of fewer than 200 homicides. In 2006, the city recorded 169 homicides, a 21-year low. The totals in recent years are a far cry from the crack cocaine-related violence of the late 1980s and early 1990s, when more than 400 people were slain annually.
Washington's homicide rate -- about 30 per 100,000 people -- remains higher than those of New York, Chicago and Philadelphia. But it is below the rates in Baltimore and Detroit.
Neighborhood organizers are concerned that the city could be on the threshold of another violent era. Trayon White, a community activist, said he knew five of the year's homicide victims, including a former classmate, Tiara Merriweather, who was gunned down as she played cards on a summer night not far from White's house.
Merriweather, 24, a mother of two, was killed June 30 in the 3500 block of Stanton Road SE -- an innocent casualty of a drive-by shooting. She was among the 60 people slain in the city's 7th Police District, up from 44 in 2006.
"Living in the streets, you get numb to it and learn to cope with it," said White, an outreach worker for East of the River Clergy-Police-Community Partnership, a grass-roots group. "It's hard for me to cry when I go to funerals anymore."
The 7th District -- which includes the Barry Farm, Congress Park and Congress Heights neighborhoods -- has about 11 percent of the city's population but accounted for 33 percent of the homicides in 2007. An additional 239 people were shot or victimized by gun violence there.
White, 23, said he couldn't say how many friends were robbed in 2007: "I can't count that high."
Thanks to a technology known as ShotSpotter, police have a better handle on how much gunfire is taking place in the 7th District -- and the totals suggest that the death toll could have been much greater. ShotSpotter, which senses the sound of gunfire, recorded roughly 2,500 gunshots -- nearly 50 a week -- in the 7th District during the past year, officials said.
Police plan to expand the ShotSpotter program to other districts in 2008.
Citywide, about 77 percent of the year's homicide victims were killed by gunfire. Arguments -- about women, respect, turf and other matters -- accounted for 44 slayings, police said. Twenty-five people died in robberies, and 20 more in drug-related slayings. As in previous years, more than 80 percent of the victims were black males. Census figures show that black males make up roughly 25 percent of the city's population.
The youngest gunshot victim was 4-year-old Darius Branch, who was fatally shot along with his mother Oct. 25 in their Southeast Washington apartment. The suspected gunman was slain a few weeks later; Darius's father, Darius McKeever, is charged with killing the man, Raymond Carpenter.
Detectives arrested 129 people on murder charges last year and closed 70 percent of their cases, said Inspector Rodney Parks, head of the department's violent crimes division.
In a statement issued last night, Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier called the closure rate the highest in 10 years. She said many cases have been closed based on calls from residents and anonymous calls to a tip line. "More and more," she said, people are no longer willing to tolerate criminals in their communities.
Earlier, Lanier said the rapid changes taking place in many neighborhoods could be having deadly consequences. She said it is crucial for police to be aware of "social change" indicators, such as shifts in housing patterns and school attendance.
For example, she said, some public housing complexes are being torn down, pushing residents with housing vouchers to other parts of the city. In some cases, young people have moved to places where they had earlier been "beefing with" the people who live there, the chief said.
"People are being vouchered from one place to another, from one neighborhood to another. Same thing with the schools," Lanier said. "I have to be on top of which people are where, which children are going to which schools. We have to know those associations."
Lanier, a veteran commander picked to lead the force by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) a year ago, has tried a mix of strategies. Her signature effort was the new program "All Hands on Deck," which put most available officers on the streets for targeted two- or three-day periods. She rearranged officers' schedules so she generally avoided paying overtime.
Still, shootings and other nonfatal gun crimes increased about 7 percent from 2006 to 2007, and armed robberies rose about 24 percent, preliminary data show.
In Northwest Washington, the Girard Street corridor has been especially troublesome. Four people were shot there on Halloween, even though a police officer was stationed a block away, and a 13-year-old was slain June 2.
Across the city, Cmdr. Joel Maupin, who heads the 7th District, said the gunfire is not concentrated in specific spots. "People are shooting at targets, stop signs -- everything. They're just shooting," he said.
Police have zeroed in on certain areas, including the neighborhood around Condon Terrace, near the Prince George's border, and are working with social service agencies, the Health Department and schools. At least four officers are on duty in the Condon Terrace area at any time.
"Crime has started to go down in that area," Maupin said. "But we've noticed it's been pushed out to surrounding areas."
White, meanwhile, is trying to help young people get jobs and stay in school. He and others in the police-clergy partnership have focused on the Woodland Terrace neighborhood, in Southeast.
He tries to get to the heart of what's driving the crime, whether it's groups of youths fighting one another, mental health issues or employment. He gives youths rides to school, takes them to the movies and organizes get-togethers with groups from other neighborhoods to try to foster friendships.
"People shoot at each other because they are from different neighborhoods, because they have a different address," said White, a graduate of Ballou Senior High School who has a degree in business administration. "People have guns; that's just the way it is. You live in a hostile environment."
Victims know that all too well.
Damon Sams, 19, was headed to work as a neighborhood outreach worker when three young people stopped him in September in the 1900 block of Savannah Terrace SE. He was shot three times and said he was a victim of retaliation.
"I didn't trip, because I did something to them and I knew it would come back," said Sams, who joined the outreach group Peaceoholics recently and said he has turned his life around. "I had to roll with the punches. Life goes on."
LaWanda Yeager was one of three people, including a 10-year-old girl, shot Memorial Day during an outdoor go-go music gathering at the Temple Courts housing complex at North Capitol and L streets NW. All survived.
Her 21-year-old son, Michael, was fatally shot Dec. 3 in front of his home on First Place NW. It was the second time in a year he had been shot, and his mother believes that he was targeted because he testified at a murder trial more than a year ago.
"He is my heart, a mother's pride and joy," Yeager said. "My family will be forever lost without him."
Staff researcher Madonna Lebling and staff reporter Martin Weil contributed to this report.