Colbert I. King -- The City That Obama Won't See

By Colbert I. King
Saturday, November 15, 2008

It's too late for President-elect Barack Obama and his family to stay away, but at least they are bringing the Secret Service with them.

Other D.C. residents aren't so lucky.

Take, for example, people living in the vicinity of Waterside Mall in Southwest, only a few minutes' drive from the White House. This week, P.J. Youngblood, facilities manager of Harbour Square near Waterside Mall, warned residents via e-mail to "please be careful."

Youngblood said a Harbour Square woman was brutally assaulted on Wednesday. "The crime was committed by three teenagers . . . around 5:00 p.m. on 6th Street between the Arena Stage and the View Apartments."

The assailants, he said, pinned the victim's arms back and beat and kicked her.

Youngblood added this ominous note: "I have spoken to the police, and they believe that the recent increase in youth crime is a current game that the kids are playing among themselves."

The victim, later interviewed by NBC4 television, said she was wearing diamond and gold jewelry and had a wallet and cash, and all the attackers took from her was the cellphone she was trying to use to call for help.

"It was clear they had no intention of robbing me," she said. "They clearly were waiting for someone to be there so they could do it."

Bodyguards notwithstanding, the new first family must be careful where they stroll.

Last month, 56-year-old Mark Kenneth Blank, arms filled with bags of groceries, was walking to his home near Waterside Mall. He never made it.

He was attacked and beaten. He died a week later from his injuries. Three youths, ages 13, 14 and 15, are in custody, charged with felony murder in the case.

Blank was one of five people accosted in that area in an eight-hour span.

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