DC taco stand owner forced to spend $4K a week on private security amid crime surge

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Democratic-run cities dealing with raging violence and crime surges have left businessowners scrambling for solutions themselves, which in the case of one District of Columbia restaurateur is costing upwards of half a million dollars per year out-of-pocket.

Bo Blair, who owns the Surfside Taco Stand and several other establishments across Washington, told FOX Business he is spending $4,000 per week on private security as the District deals with spikes in carjackings, muggings, and other crimes.

“It’s not sustainable,” Blair told correspondent Griff Jenkins on Thursday as he stood outside his Dupont Circle taquería. 

“Hopefully we can get through this crime crisis and we won’t have to do that in the future. The total amount of money we spent on security for this year at all the locations was over $450,000,” he said.

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Jenkins said Blair owns ten other restaurants in Washington, and that it has not been as easy to pass off security costs to customers as some restaurants were able to do when inflation first reared its head.

Some of Blair’s restaurants are paying more in security than rent, Jenkins further reported, adding that, in this case, the business owner is trying his best not to shift the burden to his customers.

The District of Columbia has not elected a Republican mayor since its current government was organized under Home Rule in 1975. 

The last GOP head-of-government in Washington was former Board of Commissioners President Robert McLaughlin, who left office in 1961.

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DC Police car with crime scene tape

Carjackings alone have more than doubled over the past year in Washington, with the latest figure for 2023 sitting at 928. Two hundred and fifty-four homicides were also recorded in the District this year, a nearly-one-third increase.

In October, Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, was notably violently carjacked in the District’s Navy Yard neighborhood, near a building that houses several congressional lawmakers.

Cuellar told FOX News at the time he finds Washington “more dangerous” than parts of the Mexican border in his Laredo-based district.

A member of Rep. Brad Finstad’s staff was also assaulted and robbed at gunpoint following the Congressional Baseball Game this year. The assault happened just blocks from the Capitol and the Minnesota Republican later thanked law enforcement for their efforts in response.

Blair said that prior to his interview with FOX Business Thursday, an Amazon truck was carjacked right near his office in the otherwise-safer Tenleytown neighborhood, according to Jenkins.

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“[It’s] unbelievable what it’s doing and impacting business,” Jenkins told FBN host Stuart Varney.

Congress notably rejected an effort by the District of Columbia Council to slacken some criminal penalties for crimes like larceny and carjacking.

In March, the Senate — which formally holds oversight powers over D.C. — approved a resolution spearheaded by the Republican minority that prevented the council’s edits to its criminal code, which has been largely left intact since 1901.

President Biden ultimately signed the measure.

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