Dear PoPville – Tips for living in Park View

“Dear PoPville,

I’m getting ready to move into a great apartment in Park View, DC, and my roommate and I are so excited. The neighborhood is about half a mile east of Columbia Heights and four blocks south of the Petworth metro. I feel that it is completely safe, but the immediate 1-2 blocks around my apartment are definitely less developed than the rest of the CH/Petworth area. My roommate and I are both women in our early 20s, and we are experienced with the basics of being safe in the city… don’t flash around your smartphone, avoid walking by yourself at night, get to know your neighbors, etc. But I haven’t spent a ton of time in this neighborhood, and I was hoping some of your readers that know it or live there can offer additional advice as we prepare to move in.”

68 Comment

  • Not a bad neighborhood, but common sense should still prevail. Just be vigilant, and definitely try to avoid walking around on GA ave late at night. Not that it’s a terrible area, but, there are definitely still some less desirable elements about that part of town. This sort of advice could be applied to both petworth and columbia heights as well, so don’t think its a stern warning against park view…the whole area and surrounding areas are fine, but, you know, use your head.

    • +1

      I had lived in that same location, possible your same house, up until this year. There tends to be isolated incidents by the Bank of American on the corner of Park (thefts). Although I never experienced anything like that, I found the route on New Hampshire to the metro to be much safer than that of GA ave (the crime stats agree).

      Just keep your wits about you and you won’t have any problems.

    • Great place to live in CH (and by the way the sign will be replaced in a couple of months). Quiet, easy striking distance to everything (don’t count out express buses down Georgia Ave or express H3 bus to Brookland–no need to troop to CH metro). People are okay on Irving St–side streets, it depends. So I cosign–use your head re your home and walking with iPads, etc. and you’ll be fine.

      My wife hates it when I say this, but I get more text/email alerts for burglaries, muggings, attempted rapes of joggers in Georgetown than in Park View. So I tell scared suburban friends “You won’t get robbed or assaulted here. Your car will be safe. Of course, you might get shot, but hey, it’ll likely be a stray round, nothing personal.”

      Just kidding…

  • (1) You said it, get to know your neighbors. Seriously. You all need each other. (2) avoid shortcuts in the alleys at night (3) Take the bus. It could put you a lot closer to things than the metro (4) Read the Gift of Fear (5) get a safe deposit box for your important docs and jewelry (I’d rec’d that for anyone living anywhere, um hello fire?)(6) deadbolts (7) security alarm I’ve been a single girl in Park View since 2001 and it’s just getting better & better. Nothing bad has ever happened to me and I don;t even do half the stuff I just listed. Welcome to the neighborhood.

  • I lived there from 2002 to 2008. Needless to say, things have come a long way since we first got there. We generally found our neighbors to be very welcoming and active in their neighborhood. We did witness random petty and not-so-petty crime from time to time, but following the precautions you mentioned, you should be fine. If your apartment is in a rowhouse or in a building with lax security, I recommend installing a burglar alarm. Chances are you’ll never need it, but it’s good piece of mind.

  • YOU’RE GONNA DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    No, I live here and it’s fine.

    Second the alarm thing. We’ve had a break in but that’s it.

  • I live there and I’m a girl in my 20s. Common sense and being aware of my surroundings in my opinion has kept me safe in the past 3 years that I’ve lived here.. My only complaint is that someone keeps opening my packages. So I guess find some safe way to have packages delivered is my only advice. Any one know of a way to do this that is inexpensive?

    • Have your packages delivered to work.

      • +1

      • Some people work at government agencies and this really isn’t possible.

        • Particularly if you tend to order lots of used erotica and extra-large home enema kits. Or so I’ve heard.

        • That’s why I pay for a box at the UPS store, annoying and expensive as it is.

        • Park View, like all of the District, varies tremendously block by block, but the UPS guys leaves packages on our porch more or less weekly and we’ve never had anything go missing. Use common sense, but after two years here, I think this actually might be one of the safer corners of the District.

      • I know that works for most people. But not for people that telecommute, work from home, or like me work in a different place every week. and apparently some places frown upon it. I like getting my sex toys in the mail knowing that other people haven’t opened them and used them first……Just saying.

      • On the flipside, if it’s a (1) rowhouse and (you have a covered porch or stoop (3) and you have outdoor plant urns and big containers etc., usually UPS, FedEx and USPS folks are NOT trifling or lazy (most are decent people) and will thus “hide” it as best they can.

    • I had naively thought that it wasn’t an issue since I never had a package stolen or opened for over five years – then someone stole a package off of my front porch in the 15 minutes between the time the delivery guy left and the time I got home! Future packages will be going to work.

      • send my packages to my Momma’s house… no one seems to steal packages off porches in Rock Creek Park

    • You can have them delivered to the UPS on Monroe or the fedex on 14th. Just put in their address and make sure your phone number is on it so they can call you when it arrives. Fedex its free, but UPS it will cost you $7.

      • I think I misread this the first time… so FedEx will accept any package (not just FedEx packages) for free, and UPS charges $7 for any package (including UPS packages)?

  • ” I feel that it is completely safe”


  • My friend lives in that neighborhood and likes it a lot. The only recommendation I can think of off the top of my head is to guard your trashcan. They’ve had theirs stolen a couple of times, and people dump in it when it’s out. Not really specifically Park View, again, but it seems to be an ongoing problem there.

    • I spray paint my address on mine.

      • Yes what is up with the stolen trash can problem?!? We have had ours stolen a couple times too. (We live in Petworth.) After it was stolen the first time we bought one from Home Depot and spray painted our address on it when the city didn’t deliver a replacement. That one is now gone too. I just don’t get it. Where are these trash cans going???

        • You didn’t get this from me but there is a vast repository of trash cans located underground at the McMillan Reservoir…

        • someone just stole mine… I can’t get into paying for a trashcan in advance hoping DC delivers it to my door. I called and they said i could come pick it up. when i do, i will be spray painting that baby hot pink and decorating with my address and street prominently on it and then taking a picture. if anyone steals it again, i may have to enlist the help of you lovely people to help me find said hot pink trashcan…. it’s amazing what’s in demand around here

  • Don’t advertise you are two single women living alone in a borderline area. Information security.

    • Good advice, but unfortunately the people who would take advantage of that vulnerability will find out pretty quickly, regardless.

  • Start by not feeling that the area is “completely safe.” (What area is?)

  • I moved to a house just past the sign in your photo back in January with similar concerns but so far I have really enjoyed it. Very cool neighbors, a park next door with community garden, great proximity to public transport, and lots of small markets. I’m a single male, but see lots of young women walking around at all hours. And no, you should never feel completely safe anywhere.

  • My advice from living in a trasnitional area of SW with another girl:

    – Don’t have nice things visible from the front windows or front door.
    – If someone comes by asking to wash your car, or asking for someone who doesn’t live there, be wary and do not let them get a look inside your apartment.
    – If someone rings your doorbell in the middle of the night, be aware that they’re probably looking for an empty house to break into. Don’t answer the door, but turn on lights so it’s obvious you’re there.

    • Thanks for these helpful tips, esp. the one about turning on the lights if the doorbell rings in the middle of the night. (No way would I answer the door, but I hadn’t thought about the lights option.)

  • and oh yeah, i’m also the guy who pruned back those grasses in the pic and cleaned up the constant litter mess that the wind blows in. So if you’d like to help out, that would be great…:)))

  • I’ve lived in Parkview for 3 years – only other advice is keep your front yard kept up. If it looks like your yard is being tended, you’re less likely to find litter(soda bottle/chip bags/etc) on it, and you’re less likely to have folks sitting or smoking up on your stoop.

    • I’ve been here a couple of years. My advice: Derek’s yard is a great place to deposit litter and he has a great stoop.

  • austindc

    Welcome to the neighborhood! I agree with the suggestions about the alarm and getting to know your neighbors. Pick routes that have other people out and about, and if you feel nervous ever, just turn around or cross the street, even if it seems silly.

    I also suggest doing what you can to make other people feel safe. This might mean calling the police if you see something illegal, even if it doesn’t involve you, but it can also be as simple as just hanging out on your porch with a book and being another set of eyes on the street.

    Other than that, enjoy this wonderful neighborhood and take advantage of the great location!

  • Thanks to you Anonymous for being the first person to mention actually doing things to help your neighbors. You are the kind of neighbor that makes a neighborhood great!

  • Definitely, get to know your neighbors. They will look after you. Park View is full of families from all walks of life, but they are still families and have strong values. Being vigilant should also be a sixth sense. There are bad elements in the neighborhood and if you are not careful they will take advantage. This goes for anywhere in DC, in addition to Park View. I love the area. It’s convenient and close to the action, but still offers a more quiet residential atmosphere. Welcome to the area.

  • I thought my roommate wrote this article until you mentioned the women part… We are also in our early 20s and moving to Park View soon (aka tomorrow) at seemingly the same location (Park Road).

    Our building is just a few blocks south of Penthouse (I’m assuming that’s a strip club?), there’s a “checks cashed” place on our corner, and the gas station has metal bars barring internal entry at night. I’m wondering what’s leftovers from Park View’s past and what still defines the neighborhood.

    I’m really excited though! This new place is guaranteed to be 100x better than Pentagon City.

  • My husband and I love two blocks east of that sign in Park View, and we love it! We have been here for almost two years and we have the best neighbors – ever. Same stuff that everyone else has said – be vigilant, aware, etc. Get to know your neighbors – it is the best advice. Welcome to the neighborhood!!

  • Sorry – I meant to say that my husband and I LIVE two blocks east of that sign. I guess we love there too 😉

  • I’ve lived in Park View for 11 years and have always enjoyed living in the neighborhood. I echo many of the comments above about the great neighbors. I want to include that many of the teenagers in the area are also good neighbors. Say hi, get to know the kids who live on your block. Teenagers generally (any race, any income, any town) seem to like to travel in groups and sometimes this could seem threatening, but I’ve found that they are pretty much just as friendly back to you as you are to them.

  • I would also recommend you and your roommate (and friends maybe) getting out and walking after dark to check things out. See what your impression of various streets are, how safe you feel etc. That helps form routes and habits and on evenings when walking by yourself, that info is helpful.

  • I echo the comment above about calling the cops at the first sign of trouble. The sooner the bad elements figure out that your street has a low tolerance for shenanigans, the more likely they are to take the trouble somewhere else.

  • I always walk on the southbound side of Georgia at night until I have to turn onto my side street. There’s always people/cars/cops around on that side, and it’s better lit than side streets and alleys. You might get hollered at but that’s how you make friends in the neighborhood 🙂

  • I moved to Parkview with my husband earlier this year from Columbia Heights. I had the same concerns and I was convinced that PV would feel so much more unsafe than CH. I was completely wrong. We have had one violent incident close to our house which greatly concerned me but overall i think there is way less crime here than CH (both targeted and random) the neighbors are super friendly and the place really has a kind of small town feel too it. Spend a lot of time just walking around to know the blocks better too (its a great place for biking and running..along the retirement home grounds to the circles etc). And the bonus I was not expecting when I moved here? almost no harassment from guys on the street. When I used to live off of 14th street it was unbelievable what men would yell at me (all ages no less) or try to walk close behind me. I haven’t had that issue in PV but there are also a lot fewer guys just hanging out doing nothing which helps. Be sure to check out Moroni Bros and Fusion (good walk on a nice night or easy bus trip) and other bars on GA avenue. Welcome to PV, we love it and are here to stay!

  • In my opinion its some of the best pizza in dc AND they also serve pupusas and other salvadorean dishes.

  • FYI there is a facebook group called Park View Beautification Crew. It is mainly people on Iriving, Warder and Kenyon (at least the ones we have met). We recently moved to the area and love it so far!

  • Thanks!

  • I live right near that sign and I’ve never feared for my safety (this coming from a 6′ tall male). The buses are super convenient and the walk on Irving St to the Metro is rather pleasant. Welcome to the neighborhood!

  • As a Parkview resident, welcome to the neighborhood! It’s a great mix of people who have lived here for many years, and us new folks. Parkview is a wonderful neighborhood despite some of the problems, crime/littering, that affect all of DC.

    Knock on wood, I haven’t had any security problems minus the very first week we were here and I caught someone trying to jump our fence. Two years later and all’s well. And get a dog for extra protection if you’d feel safer.

  • We’ve been here 9 years, have never had a problem. Not even when there was active drug dealing off the porch next door – no one ever touched our car or broke into our place. And now the dealers are long gone, plus many of their customers will soon be evicted when the Park-Morton comes down later this year.

    My advice, particularly if you are in an apartment, is that an alarm system is not worthwhile (maybe not even allowed by your lease agreement?), but a timer on your lamps will do a lot to make people believe you’re home when you’re not, and won’t automatically show any lurkers outside your door which apartment window is yours when you come home at night, because the light’s already on.

    • They won’t be evicted but rather moved into nice new renovated digs. It will be in a more mixed income setting but still there unfortunately. Unless they plan on re-evaluating who they are giving aid to, which I seriously doubt.

      That being said, I do very much like Parkview.

  • I moved to Park View about 5 months ago and absolutely LOVE it! Close enough to the Giant/Target/etc but far enough away that you’re out of the craziness. Folks in this part of town are really friendly and seem to watch out for each other.

    My neighbor, who’s in her 80s and doesn’t get around too well, has a dog that jumps her fence every now and then. Someone from the block always walks him back, right up to her front door, so she doesn’t have venture down the steps (which are pretty challenging for her). You don’t see that too often in the city and it always makes me smile.

    Be sure to check out Fish in the Hood (Georgia & Otis). Some of the best fish in DC!

  • Agreed with all the safety precautions listed and I also live about half a block down from the CH sign!

    I definitely never walk around at night with my ipod on…daytime is pretty much ok. Try not to go into the creepy 77 convenience store past 10pm. It’s sketchy enough in the day time. I’ve walked Georgia Ave in the daytime, would NEVER walk there at night.

    If you have roommates, let them know if you will be gone for more than a day or two…my roommates worry if we haven’t heard from each other in more than two days.

    Don’t make eye contact with the men who hoot and cat-call…sometimes they follow you.

    Other than that just remember to lock up before bed. We keep the doors locked no matter what anyway. Still not sure who the guy was that we found sleeping on the couch last week….

  • Feel free to flash your smartphone, leave your door unlocked or walk around alone at night.

    I don’t know why it’s so hard for white people to understand that a plurality black or Hispanic neighborhood is not automatically a dangerous neighborhood. Look up the crime statistics for the area — even the block around the oh-so-scary “Park-Morton” project. They’re totally fine — it’s as safe as Dupont Circle.

    • you really don’t understand why “white people” ( all of us? ) think that there are dangerous neighborhoods in dc?

  • No. I don’t get why Caucasian people assume a neighborhood is bad just because it’s a majority minority neighborhood without looking at any of the crime stats and basing it entirely on their impressions of the number of people with saggy pants.

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