Three true stories about crime and justice in our city:
1) It was early on an August Sunday morning, and a young woman who happens to be showstoppingly pretty was out for a jog in Georgetown's Montrose Park.
As always, she decided to follow the concrete path that more or less circles the park. The laps, and thus the distance she had covered, would be easier to count that way.
The first time around, she noticed a man sitting on a bench.
The second time around, she noticed the man noticing her.
The third time around, the man was exposing himself.
The woman admits she is anything but a world-class runner. But she covered the three blocks between the park bench and her front door in Olympic championship time. Still out of breath, she called the police.
In short order, a scout car came to her door. The policeman asked her to accompany him back to the park. Perhaps the exposer was still on the bench and they could identify him.
He wasn't there. But another man was.
Man Two was of the same race. He was about the same age, height and weight.
But the face and clothes were unmistakably different. It was the wrong man -- and the woman told the policeman so.
But the night of the incident, the woman was wondering out loud what would have happened if she hadn't told the truth.
The policeman who took her back to the park was extremely courteous to her, and aware of the shock she had just been through, the woman pointed out.
Still, she said, there was subtle pressure from the policeman to point a finger at Man Two and implicate him as the exposer.
It would have been neat and tidy and final. And policemen -- who are human, after all -- tend to think of arrests as "successes," as a measure of doing their jobs well.
On the other side of the coin, what if the exposer had still been there when the policeman and the woman returned?
Nothing would have stopped the woman from saying that he wasn't the exposer -- just so she wouldn't have to "get involved."
The woman now jogs "anywhere but Montrose Park." And the right man has never been found.
2) The three blocks along Connecticut Avenue just south of Albemarle Street NW look more like a war zone every day, thanks to Metro construction and the traffic pretzels that result from it.
But another menace has cropped up there: bicyclists who "buzz" pedestrians.
A woman who lives at 4500 Connecticut (corner of Albemarle) says she was walking along the sidewalk the other day when a boy on a bike "buzzed" her.
That means he zipped past her left hip as fast as he could, and as close as he could come without hitting her.
Then he turned around and "buzzed" her right hip.
The boy, who was about 12, repeated the double-buzz four more time, the woman says. Finally, he called out tauntingly over his shoulder, "That's it for today." and rode away.
Like many other residents of the high-rise apartments along Connecticut Avenue, the woman is a senior citizen. She couldn't chase the boy herself. So she asked the policeman on the beat whether he'd look out for the "buzzers."
He agreed, but according to the woman, the problem has only gotten worse. Last month, an elderly woman was struck by a "buzzer" and suffered a broken hip.
Meanwhile, there are no plans for a bicycle lane along Connecticut Avenue once the subway construction is finished -- so the problem seems likely to persist.
And no one has been arrested for "buzzing" yet.
3) A man in Arlington parked his car in his driveway one recent night. When it was gone the next morning, he reported it stolen.
The following day, a shockeroo: the thieves returned the car -- with an envelope under the windshield wiper.
In the envelope was a note that explained how an emergency had come up that could only be solved by "borrowing" the car for a day.
The notewriter expressed great sorrow at any inconvenicne he might have caused. To show he meant it, the thief left behind two extremely expensive tickets for a concert the next night at the Kennedy Center.
All smiles, full of new faith in the human spirit, the victim of the brief car theft got all dressed up and escorted his wife to the marble hall beside the Potomac.
When the couple returned home, they found the front door standing open. Everything of value in their home had been stolen.