I Usually Don’t Comment On Comments But…

This excerpt from a comment on the post An unpleasant walk home at 1:32am.

Now I’ll think again before dreaming of those low housing prices in Petworth. These stories make Capitol Hill seem worth the price.”

People who think that what I experienced only happens in Petworth are living in a fantasy land. Now, I’m very fond of Capitol Hill but I can cite dozens upon dozens of incidents including home invasion, rape, muggings etc in Capitol Hill (and the “safe” parts too.). I’m not trying to pit one neighborhood against another here but to label Petworth unlivable just because of this one incident is unacceptable and quite frankly ludicrous. Petworth indeed does have some crime, so does Columbia Heights and guess what? So does Capitol Hill and Adams Morgan and Georgetown and practically every other neighborhood in the city. I was a jackass walking home alone at 1:32 in the morning. I’m not saying I’ll stop walking alone but shit goes down at 1:32 am. Dang, I’m starting to ramble a bit here, am I making any sense?

30 Comment

  • I’ve lived in plenty of “up and coming” neighborhoods in DC and beyond, but my one and only experience of being assaulted happened on Mass Ave, right across the street from Dupont Circle and in broad daylight. Someone grabbed my backpack, I was too surprised to let go, he stabbed my shoulder with a small knife, then ran away when passersby started screaming. There wasn’t even anything valuable in that bag.

  • Unfortunately, crime happens everywhere. It happens in all neighborhoods in DC and even in the surrounding MD and VA communities. In DC, because the crime tends to be more violent and brutal and because we get instant information sent to us via listservs, I think we’re a little hypersensitive to crime. So we think that it only happens here or only happens in our neighborhood. Believe it or not, crime is increasing in many places in MoCo for the first time in years. My parents live in an upscale neighborhood in MoCo (home prices range from $500k to $2 million). They have had a rash of crime there, including home robberies, assaults, and a myriad of other things. The one thing I LOVE about DC is how accessible crime information is. The MPD has done an amazing job at getting crime alerts and information out via email to residents. It increases awareness of how crimes are happening and, hopefully, results in residents changing their behavior so that they will not be a victim of crime.

  • You want a cheap house and no crime, move to Prince William County. Stuff happens all over this city, and if an incident like the one PoP described is enough to turn you off to an entire neighborhood, you are not cut out for city life. Sorry.

  • You make total sense. We need to own our neighborhoods just as much as the criminals. At the same time, walking home at 1:32AM shouldn’t have to be bad thing to do.

  • Nothing wrong with a bit of ramble on a Friday morning. It’s good for the blood.

    As for neighborhood crime, everybody has different levels of sensitivity and different experiences. I’ve experienced/witnessed much more hostility in the suburbs (Silver Spring, Rockville, etc) than in-town. Others have seen the opposite. But it’s all valid.

    Tune into any of the listservs around DC and they’ve all got problems. So you pick the place that moves you the grooviest, and go all-in, with a truckload of good vibes and no arrogance. Meet the neighbors. Be cool. Don’t be afraid, but don’t be foolish. And eat yr.vegetables, for crissakes.

  • SouthwestDC

    Lots of people are afraid to come to my neighborhood, but I’ve never had any incidents there. The one time someone tried to attack me was around Dupont Circle in broad daylight with lots of people around. When I first moved to the area I lived in Old Town Alexandria briefly, and my roommate’s friend was robbed at gunpoint (also in broad daylight) there. You’d be foolish to think you’re safe by choosing one neighborhood over another.

  • I agree with everything posted here. I used to live in Dupont-right off the circle on 20th Street, and it was no crime-free oasis-let me tell you. There were some rough dudes ( who says dudes anymore? ha!) hanging out in the Circle, and they knew everyone’s comings and goings, travel patterns, all that…
    I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss stuff like bookstores and eateries-but that isn’t the point of this post, is it?

  • Whenever someone asks me about my neighborhood’s “crime rate” I always retell my Georgetown story: while living in a rowhouse right after graduation from GW, I walked out of my house to see the street cordoned off with yellow police tape and found out that the Starbuck’s murders/executions had occured beneath my nose. I haven’t witnessed anything like that living east of 14th Street since 1997.

  • I hope there comes a day when we all can walk home at 1:30 am and not feel like there will be a signifigant chance of something bad happening. I don’t think we should give up on that, but being careful and limiting our exposure to such situtations seems a good idea before things get safer. I do think you probably have to be a bit more careful in Petworth, Columbia Heights and other areas of town than Dupont or Georgetown. But posters here have shown if you let your guard down too much (or are unlucky) crime can strike anywhere.

  • One other thing to remember is that the city has changed so much so fast. For those mentioning crimes in Georgtown and Dupont – where they recent or years back? I’m not saying that crime doesn’t happen there, but just trying to get the time frame.

  • My brother lives in Arlington and is convinced I live in a very unsafe neighborhood, but I think when you compare the types of crimes you might be more inclined to live in Petworth.

    The majority of our crime seems to be drug dealers shooting at drug dealers. I am not a not a drug dealer so that does not worry me to much. NOVA seems to have lots of problems with random sexual predators.


    Sexual predators or Drug dealers fighting with each other.

    I am sure I am over simplifying things hear, but I am just trying to reiterate the point that crime exists every where and I do not think Petworth is an unsafe neighborhood.

  • My only “incident” in this city was when we lived in Woodley Park. I didn’t get into an elevator with a man who appeared normal but gave me a bad vibe. Well, he pulled a knife on the woman in the elevator and took her purse. In all my years of wandering around Columbia Heights and GA Ave at all hours of the day/night I haven’t felt unsafe.

  • I get what you are all saying, but I live in Columbia Heights right now and it is the most violent place in DC I’ve ever lived. Regular, frequent shootings. The BP is totally sketched out after sundown. The park at Girard and 14th is a death zone. I mean, come on. Muggings happen everywhere, but CH and Petworth are objectively more dangerous than a lot of other places in the city.

  • I recently bought in Columbia Heights after an extensive search in Capitol Hill. We read the listservs for both neighborhoods and were surprised, last summer, by the number of unprovoked beatdowns and rock-throwing incidents discussed on Capitol Hill, especially out beyond Eastern Market. These concern me a lot more than robberies, and as far as I can tell they’re a) very common on Capitol Hill, b) increasingly common in Petworth and Columbia Heights, and c) not at all common west of Rock Creek Park.

    I can see paying lots of money to escape semi-random violence, or I can see paying less money and taking your chances with it. What I couldn’t justify was paying lots of money to live in a neighborhood where assaults like that were commonplace, which is how I perceived large areas of Capitol Hill to be.

  • Last month my car window was busted out parked in Dupont.

    I’ve lived in Petworth for 2 years parking on the street with no problems.

  • Check the crime reports in the paper and on the MPD website. Crime is happening all over the city all the time. I was at a home in Spring Valley where someone had broken in the back door and stolen 2 laptop computers out of the bedroom – this was last year. Sometimes I feel a little safer in our neck of the woods.

  • You have got to be kidding me. Everyone on of the commenters, besides me, thinks that we are as safe or safer in this neighborhood than just about anywhere in DC? The anecdotes are great, but they don’t tell the whole story. I’m glad nobody here has been assaulted in CH or Petworth, but that doesn’t mean that CH and Petworth are safer.

    Here is a homicide map:


    I’m sure there are better comparisons……the DC crime mapping program isn’t working right now.

    But are you all really suggesting that we aren’t living in an objectively dangerous area? Are you all suggesting it is safer her than the suburbs because someone stole two laptops there? I mean, really.

  • This is always a big argument with my friends. I am “ok” with living in DC, but as I get older I am far less tolerant of negative teenage behavior.

    One issue is that the affordable suburbs have new Latin gang issues that didn’t exist in 2005. Friends of ours live next to a house with a triple shooting- no deaths- in Montgomery County. That said, such behavior is more or less:
    1. brand new
    2. crazy individuals

    When there was a shooting in Mt Pleasant I talked to people who were like, “Yeah, those kids, they gotta stop acting a fool.” WHAT? Shooting a gun at a drug dealer is “acting a fool?” No, it’s a strong misdemeanor and in a city neighborhood should be a felony.

    Now, I’ll often tell people that my mother was mugged in Gaithersburg by kids on bikes, but really, you and I both know that it’s the attitude of the community in this part of the city that both likes crime and welcomes crime that’s the real problem. There are people who want armed drug dealers on their block and I’ve met them. Why? They buy weed.

    Well, the suburbs don’t put up with crime like that. The suburbs call the cops on everyone, sometimes unfairly, but there you go. every neighborhood has good and bad and it’s silly for people to say “Arlington is safe because I’ve never seen the rampant MS13 gangs, but DC isn’t because I’ve seen that on the news.” But also, it’s ignorant not to recognize how bad crime has gotten in columbia heights and how we have to reverse that trend.

  • i live right by union station on cap hill.

    believe me. it’s messy. prostitutes, drugs, muggings (with and without weapons – to include knives and guns), stealing cars, joy riding and crashing cars, rape, you name it. it all goes on over here. if you really want to make an informed comment, subscribe to crimereports.com, or just check out DC.gov to get stats on crimes all over dc.

    whoever wrote that comment is just justifying not owning/renting a place in petworth.


    these are the kinds of people that leave the area within a few years of having arrived here because of all kinds of lame excuses.

    go back to kansas, dufus.

    click, click, and your home.

  • oh, and for the record, i owned a home in georgetown from ’99-’04.

    what happened during that time?

    several rapes, a drug house (yeah, a lair for addicts) got busted, three homicides (at least), multiple break ins, car thefts, car break ins, armed robbery, everything you have all mentioned and more.

    AND i lived right next to the intersection of Wisconsin and M street.

    gimme a break.

    seriously, some of these hicks need to go back to whatever burb in some bumfuck state they came from.

    u can’t take the heat, leave.


    thank you.

  • well I DO think we’re allowed to fight the heat and take back our streets from the chewed gum that hangs out on the sidewalk.

  • Let’s not forget that man whose throat was slashed in Georgetown this past year, so nope, no specific area in DC is safer than another. I’m alert and on guard at all times.

  • The fact that all kinds of crimes happen in all neighborhoods sometime does not make all neighborhoods equally safe.

    Some blocks in Capitol Hill are scetchy and more “dangerous”, others are quite safe (statistically speaking). Same goes for CH and Petworth.

    I’d venture a guess that there are more shootings in CH and Petworth than there are in Woodley Park. Even if they are between gangs and thugs does not mean that you are not _more_ likely (not likely) to get accidentally (!) shot at here.

  • I’m under the impression that some neighborhoods are safer than others. Having read all of the other comments on your post the other day, I noticed that none of them had to do with one specific neighborhood.

    To the comment above: “if you really want to make an informed comment, subscribe to crimereports.com, or just check out DC.gov to get stats on crimes all over dc.

    whoever wrote that comment is just justifying not owning/renting a place in petworth.”

    Nobody has to justify not living in a particular neighborhood! I don’t see why anyone would have to anyway. If it’s because this is a blog about Petworth, sorry for presuming you’d be welcoming of people from other neighborhoods!

    And since when are the comment rolls of blogs full of only highly informed commenting? I think they are great for sharing one’s ideas about the content of the post.

    What makes an idea about relative safety in light of multiple stories about crime less valid? There’s no need to attack in such a mean nature!

  • Also, judging by the comments about crime listservs here, I’m glad to not be subscribed to one! I can see how knowing about all the crime happening nearby can lead to paranoia.

  • D.C. is an urban city with urban ills. If you live here you have to know that crime is part of the landscape. Some parts of the city are safer than others, but to paint Petworth as this crime-ridden cesspool of drugs, gangs and rapes is both irresponsible and inaccurate. To date (knocking on wood here!), in my 8 years living in this area I have yet to be affected by crime of any kind. For one thing, as a woman, I don’t walk around alone in this city at 1:30 a.m. because I have had several female friends who did this in the Capitol Hill and Woodley Park neighborhoods who were robbed at gunpoint, thrown into bushes and almost raped etc. I watch the police blotter to see where things happen and I avoid those areas, tho I know crime can happen anywhere. Stay aware, stay informed and chances are you will stay safe.

  • Wow, another self appointed royalty! 😉

  • Not sure who poo poo was talking about, but it it was me, poo poo don’t know doo doo.

    I live in CH. I don’t need to justify not living in petworth. I don’t even know what that means.

    If poo poo is trying justify living in petworth by pointing out there was a killing in Georgetown, than poo poo’s the fool.

    So be it.

    The objective evidence demonstrates that our neighborhoods (CH and Petworth) are objectively less safe than other neighborhoods in the city (not to mention some of the suburbs). That’s a fact, jack. And all the “one time, a guy was killed in georgetown” posts in the world won’t change that.

    But I live here. I’d like it to get better, and I think it will.

  • Ah, denial. Petworth is the safest place on earth!!! I am so grateful for every day that I am gone from that neighborhood after 18 months of rationalization.

  • I’ve lived here all my life and have always thought Capitol Hill to be more dangerous than many other DC neighborhoods, excluding far SE and NE. Though the houses are for the most part great, I have never wanted to live there for that reason. Plus the idea of living so near to so many student council presidents from all over the country, all grown up, who are in town to change the world.

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