Senate warns of increased crime on Capitol Hill as lawmakers and staff face string of robberies, carjackings

The Senate is offering safety tips and reminders amid an "increase" in crime throughout D.C. and a series of violent attacks against lawmakers and Capitol Hill staffers.

The Senate warned lawmakers and Capitol Hill staffers to take precautions amid a rise in crime throughout D.C., following a series of violent attacks against members of Congress and those who work for them.

In a Friday bulletin to Senate chiefs of staff, administrative managers, chief clerks and staff directors, the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms suggested tips to reduce the risk of being carjacked and warned of an increase in carjackings around the nation’s capital. The warning came the day after a Senate staff member was robbed at gunpoint and weeks after a House Democrat was carjacked.

“Local authorities note an increase in carjacking incidents in and around Capitol Hill and the District of Columbia,” the bulletin, obtained by Fox News Digital from multiple Senate sources, states.

Listed on the bulletin were a variety of safety tips and reminders like, “Always keep doors locked and windows up” and “Don’t stop to assist a stranger with a broken-down car; call the police from a safe location instead.”


Additionally, the bulletin reminded Capitol Hill lawmakers and staff to “park in well-lit areas near sidewalks,” “conceal valuables,” and “avoid traveling alone, when possible.”

Another section primarily discussed what an individual should do if “confronted by a carjacker with a weapon.”

“Your safety is paramount; surrender your car without argument and swiftly leave the area,” the bulletin stated. “Attempt to recall the carjacker’s physical details (gender, race, age, hair/eye color, distinctive features, clothing).”

The bulletin advised calling 911 and Capitol Hill Police if an incident occurs near the complex.

From armed robberies to carjackings, a variety of lawmakers and Capitol Hill staff members have found themselves at the center of violent attacks on the streets of D.C. in recent months.

A staff member for Republican Sen. Katie Britt was robbed at gunpoint Thursday night, Washington D.C. Police confirmed Friday. 

According to FOX 5 D.C., Amanda Peper, a scheduler for the senator, was robbed at gunpoint at 8:30 p.m. about a mile from the Capitol. 

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Police said Peper was walking to her building when she was approached by a man who pointed a gun in her face and said, “Give me your purse and keys.” Peper complied with the mugger and gave him her belongings, police said.

“It is infuriating and completely unacceptable that an American who is on Capitol Hill to serve her country cannot safely walk the streets of Washington, D.C., at 8:30 at night because of the out-of-control crime in this city,” Britt’s office said in a statement to Fox News Digital.


Earlier this month, Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar was carjacked by three armed attackers while parking his car in Washington’s Navy Yard neighborhood, an area where other lawmakers live that’s less than two miles south of the Capitol building. Cuellar was not harmed during the carjacking.

“Three guys came out of nowhere, and they pointed guns at me,” Cuellar told reporters after the incident. “I looked at one with a gun and another with a gun out the one behind me. So, they said they wanted my car, and I said, ‘Sure.’”

In June, an unidentified congressional staffer for Minnesota GOP Rep. Brad Finstad was attacked at gunpoint near his home in D.C. after returning from the congressional baseball game.

Finstad detailed the assault by the armed gunman in a statement following the attack and noted the staffer would be “able to make a full recovery” and that the “extent of his physical injuries was minor.”

“In Washington, D.C. and cities across the country, anti-police, soft-on-crime policies have created lawless societies that endanger the public and empower criminal behavior,” Finstad wrote at the time.

Similarly, Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul announced in March a member of his staff was “brutally attacked” by a perpetrator with a knife on the streets of Washington, D.C.

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“This past weekend a member of my staff was brutally attacked in broad daylight in Washington, D.C.,” Paul said in a statement at the time. “I ask you to join Kelley and me in praying for a speedy and complete recovery and thanking the first responders, hospital staff and police for their diligent actions.

“We are relieved to hear the suspect has been arrested. At this time, we would ask for privacy, so everyone can focus on healing and recovery.”

Paul’s office did not confirm the identity of the staff member who was attacked. However, a press release issued by the Metropolitan Police Department after the attack noted the victim was an adult male who had “life-threatening injuries.”

The statement also announced the arrest of a suspect, 42-year-old Glynn Neal “in reference to an Assault with Intent to Kill (Knife) offense,” and that the incident occurred less than 1½ miles from the Capitol.

Paul himself was attacked by a neighbor and sustained serious injuries in 2017. He broke six ribs, including three displaced fractures, and his recovery was complicated by fluid and blood around the lungs and recurrent pneumonia.

Paul and his wife were also previously attacked by a mob as they made their way to a hotel after Donald Trump’s 2020 Republican National Convention acceptance speech at the White House. One man was charged with assaulting a police officer near Paul at the time, but the charge was later dropped.

Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., also became the victim of a crime in February when she was assaulted in the elevator at her Washington, D.C., apartment building. 

Kendrid Khalil Hamlin pleaded guilty in June to charges of assaulting a member of Congress and assaulting law enforcement officers. He was accused of assaulting two police officers as they were trying to arrest him for the attack.

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Craig was getting coffee in the apartment’s lobby when she noticed a man pacing. He got into the elevator with her and said he needed to use the bathroom and that he was going to enter her apartment, a U.S. Capitol Police special agent wrote in court papers.

When she said he couldn’t go into her apartment, he punched her in the face and grabbed her neck before she threw a hot cup of coffee at him, prosecutors said. 

Nick Coe, Craig’s chief of staff, said the lawmaker called 911 after the incident as the attacker fled and that there was no evidence the attack was politically motivated.

A number of other serious crimes committed against lawmakers have taken place in recent years.

James T. Hodgkinson, a far-left former volunteer on Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, opened fire on a group of Republican lawmakers in June 2017 as they practiced for the annual congressional baseball game. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., was shot and critically injured during the attack, requiring surgeries to save his life.

The nation’s capital has grappled with a crime surge in recent years, hitting nearly a two-decade high of 226 homicides in 2021, according to Metropolitan Police Department data. Homicides dropped in 2022 but still surpassed 200, and acting D.C. Police Chief Pamela Smith announced the city had reached its 200th murder this month, putting the city on pace to have among the worst annual body counts since the 1990s.

Overall D.C. crime decreased between 2021 and 2022, but certain offenses remained higher than pre-pandemic levels. In 2023, total violent crime is on the rise again, up nearly 40% from last year, according to police data. Property crime is also surging, with motor vehicle thefts increasing 106% and robberies up 65%.

Fox News’ Sarah Rumpf-Whitten, Megan Myers, Louis Casiano, Brandon Gillespie and Lawrence Richard contributed to this report.

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