“We have all noticed Bloomingdale has been charged with a new tense and violent energy”

Photo by PoPville flickr user KingoftheHill.

“Dear PoPville,

I’ve lived in the same apartment in Bloomingdale for 3 years and know all my neighbors, love the neighborhood and the vibe. Increasingly, over the past year, we (neighbors, my bf and I) have all noticed Bloomingdale has been charged with a new tense and violent energy. In the evenings, it’s not as noticeable, people are out and about going to Yoga District, Ren Hen, Boundary Stone, Big Bear Cafe, etc.

The daytime hours are the worst times to be out. We usually walk our yellow lab around midday between 12 pm and 4 pm and almost every day we are verbally accosted and threatened by young men driving or walking through the neighborhood (between Rhode Island and Florida on 1st and 2nd Streets NW.)

They usually try to hit on me and when I ignore them or refuse their comments/advances, it immediately turns to threats of violence–“Fuck you bitch. I’ll fucking fuck you up. Watch your back, bitch. Don’t walk away from me. I know where you live. I should’ve robbed you. I’ll fucking rob you.” This afternoon a guy in a van followed me for blocks and wouldn’t leave me alone screaming at me for ignoring him and threatening to hurt me and rob me and that he knew where I lived–I’m sure he doesn’t, but still scary enough. My landlord just happened to be walking towards us and his presence scared off the guy in the van. We reported the incident to the non emergency police tip line.

With my bf, they instantly threaten him, follow him for blocks saying some form of the above. It’s always some threat of violence, “Hey faggot, I’m going to follow you into that alley and fuck your shit. Stupid fucker, let’s get him. Let’s fuck him up. Follow that fucker.”

As I mentioned before, I know all my neighbors and these young men don’t live here that I’ve seen. They’re usually walking through in groups of 3 or more or they’re driving around on the quiet, short, cross streets that don’t connect to main thoroughfares. They’re cruising around seemingly looking to interact with pedestrians. The worst places are the gas station area on Rhode Island and Florida NW, and the STRANGE “electronics shop” on the corner of Florida and 2nd Street NW. There are always drug deals out in the open in front of that shop or on the quiet streets nearest the shop (2nd and T NW). I’ve seen so many drugs and money exchanged during the daytime around that area.

Our neighbors are really good about being “present” in a lot of different ways. We have really young children that play basketball or football on the sidewalks, neighbors sit out on their stoops, and socialize and report anything suspicious. We all watch out for each other but I’m concerned about the escalation and the frequency of these incidences and feel like they’re getting worse. It makes me want to be outside less and less.

I’m curious if others in Bloomingdale on different streets have noticed this as well.”

130 Comment

  • Are you aware that almost everything you quoted them as saying is a crime? You call 911 and say “Someone is threatening to beat / rape / rob me. Here is the description / location / license plate number.” It is illegal to threaten someone in that way. I’m not a lawyer, but I’ve had police respond to situations like that, and they (mostly) took it seriously. Depending on the officer, you do need to be firm that you want to report it as a crime.
    I know that doesn’t answer your question, but the notion of calling a non-emergency tip line is just not correct. The police need to be on these people, and 911 is how you do it.

    • Those were my thought too. Sheesh, if someone was saying/doing these things I would be calling 911 and telling them to come quick!! That is scary.

    • OP here–I was with my dog and going to the garbage can on the corner. I only had a set of keys on me and no cell phone, unfortunately. Otherwise, I would have videotaped him and called the police–I’ll be sure to keep my cell on me from now on. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get his license plate number.

      Per past PoPVille posts, I also feel that calling the police when you’re in front of a harasser or threatening character is a risky move, especially as a woman alone…. I’ve definitely called the police in other threatening situations and it can escalate the aggressor. I always move myself to safety first before calling the police.

      I appreciate the validation that 911 is the appropriate avenue to take.

      • Understand that. Yes, it’s probably best to wait until you’re safe and away from them. Recording them could also be very risky.

      • I agree. As much as it’s always my gut reaction to pull my phone out and photograph or video tape aggressors I’ve learned a lesson from this. Over the summer I did just this as someone was harassing me, and the individual actually got out of his car (he had been driving it down the street) and threatened to beat the sh*t out of me. It was incredibly scary- and there was a cop car two vehicles behind him! So, definitely continue to get to safety first, but try to memorize license plates of aggressors in vehicles if you can.

      • Another way to get this information to the police is through YahooGroups. (Yes, Yahoo Groups still exists!) Nearly every PSA has its own Yahoo Group, and it is a great way to convey this kind of broad information about general situations in the neighborhood. Usually one of the officers monitors the group, or someone passes along the information, but you will get a reply.

      • Assuming you have a smartphone maybe worth taking a look at this digital “dead man’s switch” app. basically you open it and hold your finger over it. if you take your finger off it for a prolonged amount of time it’ll call 911. http://www.llresponse.com/

      • houseintherear

        Wait, so this happened once? Your post/letter insinuates a repeating pattern, and is quite hyperbolic. I’m all for a “warning” to fellow community members, but this post seems to be attention-seeking or perhaps just an angry response to a atypical street experience.

        • Huh? If you threaten to beat me, I will call the police on you. Even if it’s just once.

          • houseintherear

            Sorry I wasn’t clear- absolutely call the police. But OP’s letter uses phrasing like, “they usually” and, “it’s always,” but then in the above comment response when she was asked about calling the police, she only talks about one incident, saying, “I was with my dog” etc.
            I don’t know… this just seems to happen a lot on this website and in social media in general. One scary incident, and suddenly there’s a proclaimed “epidemic,” which is fear mongering and ridiculous, imho.

        • I think she was saying this happens regularly to some degree, but when she responded to the point about calling the police she was referring only to one of the specific in indents she originally cited (when it was particularly bad?) — the guy who threatened to rape her or the one the van.

    • when someone is tailing you, and threatening you, be very careful about pulling out your phone. it can escalate the situation.

    • In order for the police to increase patrols, there needs to be a record of 911 calls for crimes. Do call 911, not the non-emergency line.

  • Bloomingdale resident here. We were recently burglarized – They used a ladder to crawl into a window and took a lot of things from our house. So yeah, I’m feeling some increased hostility.

    We’re looking to move. Even before this I was carrying pepper spray and often avoided walking around alone late at night. There are some really bad characters around here.

  • i’ve not noticed that. But then again, given my situation, no one is catcalling me. I wish that young women weren’t subject to such degrading treatment by certain animals in our society.

    I also haven’t noticed drugs being sold out in the open. I would have liked that back when I used to use drugs, but I haven’t done that for many, many years.

    Overall, I find B-Dale to be a pretty quiet place. I usually feel safe, though I do take precautions. At night I don’t walk with headphones on, keep my phone in my pocket, take most of my money and credit cards out of my wallet (so if it gets taken they won’t get much), or walk with an old phone and nearly empty 2nd wallet.

    • It’s not just young women. It’s been years since I could be considered young and I still get daily street harassment.

    • Catcalling is not a “certain animals” problem, it is a creepy, entitled, misogynistic male problem. I have been catcalled by men in every color of the rainbow and every socioeconomic level. Plenty of them were fresh scrubbed and well dressed enough that you wouldn’t think that the “animal” descriptor was accurate-until they opened their mouths.

      • Yes, and this. I’m catcalled all over the city by all varieties of men . It’s not just a Bloomingdale problem, though I do notice it a little more in the U Street/Shaw/Bloomingdale area.

        • I’ve always wondered about this – why do U st. & Shaw have higher frequencies of cat calls and muggings compared to 14th st.? Wasn’t 14th just as deserted 15-20 years ago as U st? What is/was it about 14th that completely turned things around, while U and Shaw still have these issues?

          • For one, “Shaw/U st” encompasses a much greater area than 14th st. Also, don’t you remember the numerous shootings around 14th/R (or thereabout) just this past summer? I’m not sure that your perception is altogether valid.

      • When referring to “certain animals,” the poster made no reference to color or socioeconomic status.

        • You really didn’t get the impression that one was implied?

        • I think the objection to the comment stems from the idea that there is a certain type of man, maybe based on race, socioeconomic status, etc., that is more likely to catcall. In reality, it’s a lot of men that normally wouldn’t be described as “certain types of animals.” It ignores the problem that a lot of men who think they are being decent guys and are interacting with women in an appropriate manner are in reality making us very uncomfortable or feel like we’re at risk.

          • I took “certain types of animals” to mean certain type of man, otherwise known as a type of man who thinks it is acceptable to harass women on the street. That is a certain type of man…and that certain type spans over all races, socioeconomic status, creeds.

      • Rather than cat calling, there’s a term for this that I think is appropriate and puts it in the proper context. – street harassment.

      • It’s also not only a female problem… As a gay man, verbal harassment or derogatory comments from passing cars is not uncommon either… But I agree it’s all from men.

  • what happened when you called the police each time?

  • devoe

    I’ll start off by saying that I have not noticed any of the behavior that you describe, but it’s obviously terrible.

    The “electronics store” you mentioned is “Aida’s Electronics.” It openly sells synthetic drugs and is clearly playing some other role in the drug trade based on the number of sketchy dudes that are always around. It’s my understanding that the city is bringing a nuisance action against them to shut them down. This cannot happen soon enough – in the five years that I’ve lived in Bloomingdale the situation on the corner of 2d street and Fl. Ave NW has only gotten worse and Aida’s Electronics is the epicenter.

    • Aida’s Electronics is located above the center of the drug trade? How far above?

      • Knock it off. Devoe’s use of “epicenter” was perfectly accurate.

      • ep·i·cen·ter
        noun: epicentre; plural noun: epicentres; noun: epicenter; plural noun: epicenters
        the point on the earth’s surface vertically above the focus of an earthquake.
        •the central point of something, typically a difficult or unpleasant situation.
        “the patient was at the epicenter of concern”

        Go back to grammar police academy.

    • remember when the guy working behind the counter was shot? yea… there is definitely more going on there than synthetic drugs. hadn’t heard of the nuisance action… but you are 100% right. Would go a long way to cleaning up the neighborhood. what is TJ Quinn doing about it? anything?

      • Not only that, but they found a body with a head wound in the alley behind Fl Ave/by 2nd st. I don’t know if this was at all related, but certainly seems fishy given the locale and prior history. The police and the city are certainly aware of the problems at Aida’s, but TJ Quinn keeps saying that the city is having trouble bringing actions against the store/owner, though I am not entirely sure why.

      • The issue of Aida’s came up in our November BACA meeting (the neighborhood group south of Florida). It was reported then that the local ANCs are working with DCRA to enact regulations that would better govern the sale of bath salts etc. It would definitely be worth reaching out to give the ANC’s your story to give them more leverage to make the issue a priority for DCRA.

        • It came up again at the December meeting on Monday — TJQ managed to make things happen! The shop will be essentially shut down for the next 6 months. Huge success.

    • wasnt there a drug related shooting in that store not too long ago? i would assume that and any associated incidents would warrant looking into shutting it down.

    • The store is currently involved in a civil case with DC – they are attempting to shut it down as a “public nuisance”. The assistant attorney general is looking for community residents to submit affidavits. I highly encourage anyone in the neighborhood to talk to their ANC rep to find out how to submit one.

  • I haven’t noticed any of this, but appreciate the heads up to keep my eyes open for my, and my wife’s safety. Outside of the construction I’ve found Bloomingdale to be a pretty quiet place (especially in my area at Adams and Flagler). There was some drug dealing occasionally going on at the intersection, but that’s stopped now that DC Water is digging their drop shaft;)

  • I’ve lived at First and S, for 6 years and this is exactly the way its been since day one. Of course there is less of it at night when the streets are more populated and there are more eyes watching things, but this is how it is during the day all the time. Most of the regulars do live in that area bordered by Fl, North Cap and RI, some of the group traffic comes across North Cap from R and Q St NE. They are unemployed man-children that live with relatives in the area or their baby-momma’s family.

    I hate to be the one to break it to you, but we (you) live in a pretty stodgy area. Take a look at the DC Crime Map for the area. Every manner of crime (violent and property) are up YOY, everything that isn’t bolted to the ground gets stolen or vandalized. I am luckier than you as I am a pretty large guy and while I get the occasional stare down by a wanna be thug, people don’t say anything to me.

    It will eventually get better as the neighborhood gentrifies, more business opens and there are more people around all times of the day, but it won’t happen overnight, it will take years.

    • brookland_rez

      This. Used to live at N Cap and R from 2008-2009, and things are definitely better now. I’m a rather big guy as well so I don’t get nuisance stuff like that. Bloomingdale is very much center city. Any place like that where there’s a lot of people on the street, crime is going to be higher.

      • There are more people on the street in other neighborhoods, and it tends to increase safety. I think it has to do more with some bad apples that hang out in that particular area. I’ve never had a problem (I have perfected Resting B**** Face), but I’ve seen it happen. The gas station on Florida always has some sketch going on, as do a few other corners on North Cap. I went to a public safety meeting in my ‘hood (elsewhere) where they shared how many patrols they have at any given time, and it seemed really insufficient. Have you thought of banding together and setting up some kind of neighborhood watch program? DC has a process for that, and there’s also Guardian Angels and some other groups.

    • My thoughts exactly. We’re on Quincy Place and see this stuff happen all the time.

    • This is absurd hyperbole. Crime may be up YOY, but its down big time over the past 5 years, as it is city wide (and as it is in most cities across the country).

      “Everything not bolted down” being stolen? If by bikes and wallets laying on the street, probably. I have accidentally left my laptop in my car visible twice over night, sure that they’d be gone and I’d be really pissed only to find them still there. Not something I’m proud of, but not exactly indicative of the mid 19th century Five Points that some people are making it out to be…

      I encourage you to look at the crime map a bit more carefully and see where the hot spots of all kinds of crime. Bloomingdale has its problems, but being the worst for anything, even in NW is a bit of a reach.

      • Agree with you. I’ve lived in Eckington for five years and walk my dog around Bloomingdale every day. There are lots of things in the front yards of homes that don’t seem to get stolen, so I’m not sure what this person is talking about. I’ve never had a problem with anyone harassing me either, but maybe I need to walk around on in the middle of a weekday to see the dirty underbelly of Bloomingdale.

    • justinbc

      This, and the story above, make me feel so much better for deciding to pass on the Bloomingdale property we almost bought to live in a few years back. I’ve never had any of these problems in the place we chose, nor has my partner.

      • To each their own Justin, but I haven’t experienced or personally heard of friends/neighbors experiencing the problems mentioned by the OP. Crime of all sorts has steadily declined over the last few years in Bloomingdale (see crime stats), I’m not sure what Bloomi is talking about.

        • HaileUnlikely

          As for crime stats, to the best of my ability to tell, none of what the OP is talking about has been reported to the police, and even if reported, typically would not be reflected in crime stats.

      • Ok…..

        Neither have I, or the close to a dozen households of people I know in Bloomingdale.

        You live in H Street, right? I’ve never had any problems there either. BUT, I’m sure there are people who have!

        • justinbc

          I live in Capitol Hill, but close enough to H Street where I can frequent it easily if I want to. I’ve never had any of these problems even on H Street either though, the most annoying thing there is the drunken bros who invade every Saturday.

          • The most annoying thing on H Street is the drunken bros? You have lost whatever credibility you might have had with this assessment.

      • i’m glad someone’s negative experiences make you feel better about your own much wiser choices.

  • Wow. I’m a (caucasian) female who has lived in Bloomingdale for FOUR years. I work from home, walk my dog every afternoon, and hang out day and night often. NEVER have I had any of these things happen to me. I sent this post out to three other Bloomingdale residents and they too are confused by this madness… All said this has never been the case for them either. Weird…

    • “weird”?

      we could all be better at fixing our societal problems if we could empathize what it feels like to be someone else, and not just wait till something happens to us to understand it.

      • Also, considering things vary incredibly from street to street in DC, it could be that OP lives on a street that’s very different from you.

      • I think you’re misinterpreting the “weird” coda. I took it more as “weird that I haven’t personally experienced what you describe, given that I’ve lived here for a while”.

        • epric002

          +1 – i also took it more as surprise/disappointment that this is happening in her neighborhood since she hadn’t heard about it/experienced it. not “weird” as in it’s unlikely/unbelievable that it’s happening.

        • sorry for my misinterpretation. i see how sometimes people that don’t experience things personally often reject that it happens to others. i didn’t mean to sound accusatory.

      • I don’t think her use of “weird” indicates any particular lack of empathy. It IS weird. Also terrible, unfortunate, etc.

        But pinpointing the differences between these two women’s experiences–where are they walking? what time of day?–might actually go a long way toward helping out the OP avoid further harassment. So it seems like an eminently useful comment to me.

    • That is a very very subjective and anecdotal point. I’ve lived here for about 2 years and i’ve seen people breaking into cars, having sex in cars as well, I’ve seen people get mugged, beaten, seen cops chasing some kids on a stolen scooter and more. The fact that you have not experienced any of the above does not mean that they do not happen, life is random, but numbers & statistics are out there for you to see that crime is still happening in the area very much so.

    • I live in the northern section of bloomingdale and have a dog I walk(100lb) and this doesn’t happen to me ever. Not sure if it is because a little further away from 1st and Florida or 1st and RI or 100lb dog. If this is happening closer to 1st and FL have never liked that section of Bloomingdale. Still kinda rough south of Fl ave on 1st st if you as me.

  • Discouraging and sad to hear these stories. As a woman, I do notice catcalling in Bloomie, but not as much as when I walk through Shaw or U street/other more populated areas. I work at the Yoga District and there have been a couple times I have felt unsafe before locking up the studio after class because men claiming to want to learn more about us will drop by, and you can tell they are not really interested in yoga because they don’t have any real questions, but mostly it’s just creepy because I am alone, nothing bad has happened. I have lived in the area for three years and was mugged by some teenagers at 5pm one Friday, one who had a knife which he pulled out to threaten a guy who’d chased after them, about a year ago (the police came sort of quickly but the kids were never found). Around that same time I noticed a lot of extra police presence in my neighborhood, at all times of the day, but come to think, that extra presence has mostly gone away. Now, our neighborhood has seen a huge increase in the number of stolen packages, some of my roommates’ included.

    I will say I agree with other comments here that a rape/violent threat should be reported to the police. The more things are reported, the more police can be present, and the more violence/thefts/violent threats are discouraged.

    • justinbc

      Yeah it seems like a lot of this is the unfortunate circumstance of being a woman and the seemingly never ending harassment that entails. The comments about the boyfriend are actually the more surprising ones to me, because that seems to indicate a more specific targeting of them as individuals.

  • First of all, I have been getting harrassed on RI Ave since I was 14 (now 41). For some reason John’s cruise that street from South Dakota all they way up to the circle. The reason you are seeing a younger, zombied out crowd during the day is there are several youth and adult Group Homes with curfews and a Needle Distribution center all in a 10 block radius. They use the synthetic mary jane because they take urines to stay in the house and out of jail. I will be ecstatic when they outlaw that bs. Sorry about your luck.

  • Some suggestions to help raise police awareness. I would first start by emailing your district commander and ANC Rep with all of this information. I would also email them every time there is an incident. Let them know addresses and details. Second I would go to your local PSA meetings, these are community meetings at your local police precinct. They are not always easy to find information about but ask when they are and go and make sure they know what is happening. It is possible they don’t know this is happening but getting to know them and letting them know regularly can help them assign units or patrols. It seems like you are in the 501; http://mpdc.dc.gov/page/welcome-fifth-district

  • Catcalling is a part of life for many women of all races in many places in the world. It’s sad and unfortunate, and I can empathize with you. I remember being in Rome and a group of male police creeps was aggressively hitting on my girlfriend and saying God knows what about me. And in DC, my sister had to switch jobs because she couldn’t bear the daily aggressive catcalling she experienced on the street by some of the neighborhood creeps.

    As to the threats, however, I hope you’re a strong advocate for gun carry rights. If the creep thought you were packing, I’d be willing to bet he wouldn’t bother you.

    • And the award for most tangential reply of the day goes to…

      • Hahahaha – yup!
        “What is this, a thread about street harassment? Cat-calling? Hey, I have an IDEA! Let’s turn the tables here and make it all about our god-given right to bear arms! THE CONSTITUTION for chrissake! If only she were carrying a gun… boy whooweee would those rascals think twice before doing something like that again! I tell ya!”

    • do you think pulling a gun on someone catcalling is the appropriate response?

      • it’s the Chicago way. They put one of yours in the hospital, you put one of theirs in the morgue. They comment on your ass, you pull a Glock.

      • No, because it’s impractical and I don’t want a bunch of untrained/half trained scared people adding extra badly aimed bullets to the streets. And yes, as I’m sure you’re intending to point out, our country’s obsession with carrying guns around and keeping legal absurd weapons that are designed to kill a ton of people quickly is insane.

        That being said, on a moral or emotional level, I’d have no problem with a woman who is being verbally threatened with rape or other serious physical assault pulling out a gun and blowing her harasser away. I think that’d be great. It’s just not realistic and the pro-gun folks who argue for it have no sense of reality.

    • You’re right though, even if PC folks in D.C. don’t want it to be true. Folks who make it a point to victimize others are no longer part of the community of humanity, but are instead predators who’ve forfeited any expectation of life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness.

      It’s my feeling that any stupid-ass kid or man-child that makes a conscious decision to attempt to victimize people on the street, verbally or physically, or enters a commercial establishment to rob or steal, or enters a private home to do the same, should feel like doing so represents a mortal danger, and that the slightest misstep on their part is likely to result in them being on the ground, bleeding out from a bullet wound to their chest. In other words, I think that a man getting out of his vehicle to threaten someone deserves death.

      Do I think this should be enshrined with something akin to a “stand your ground” law for the District? Yes, I do.

      • WTF, this is so scary that you think this. I do not want to live in this world anymore. MY GOD, people are flawed, they have problems, they’re not perfect citizens–far from it, but they do not deserve to be dead! UGHHHHH.

        • Just out of curiosity have you ever been mugged?

          Having been mugged twice (on U street, by the way) I can tell you it has changed the way I feel about this issue quite a bit.

          That said, there’s a lot of hyperbole in the OP about crime in Bloomingdale. I’ve lived there for 10 years and certainly there is some of what is described, but nowhere near the magnitude that’s described here.

          • i’m sorry you were mugged. do you think if you were carrying that would not have happened?
            at what point does one pull their gun out?

      • Holy moly. Believe me, I don’t have much sympathy for those who choose to break the law, but this made me wince. I really hope you are overstating for literary effect or something.

      • epric002

        a person who “attempt[s] to victimize someone…verbally”, who “threaten[s] someone” deserves DEATH? i really hope you’re not employed by any part of the justice system. let’s have some proportionality here for chrissake.

  • I’ve always wondered about this – why do U st. & Shaw have higher frequencies of cat calls and muggings compared to 14th st.? Wasn’t 14th just as deserted 15-20 years ago as U st? What is/was it about 14th that completely turned things around, while U and Shaw still have these issues?

    • 14th st 15-20 years ago was MUCH worse than Shaw/U today. Day and night difference in terms of perceived safety.

    • justinbc

      Well, there seem to be a lot more people who just hang out in the streets around U St vs 14th St. H St NE is very similar, between about 7th and 9th.

  • I’m a white female living in one of the highest crime neighborhoods in Ward 8 and that’s worse than the worst that’s happened to me living here. I’d suggest getting a REALLY good look at their faces (for future police lineup), being extremely assertive, and telling them you will call 911. Then call 911 ASAP when you’re in a safe place and provide a strong description.

    Also, carry a personal alarm. My husband is a cop and he recommends these for any woman in the city. More effective than pepper spray because it can’t be used against you. http://www.amazon.com/Vigilant-PPS22BL-Emergency-Personal-Keychain/dp/B005E04MK0

    • One more thing – second what folks said above about reporting to MPD so they can assign units to patrol those areas more regularly. They will move resources for reasons like these…

      • Maybe I’m completely naive, but I had no idea those alarms existed, and I’ve been searching for an alternative to pepper spray (since it’s not legal to carry it in DC without proper registration). Many thanks for the recommendation!

    • Hey, I’d never heard of this either, and went to check it out. I’m not sure I’m seeing how using this would play out in an actual situation, though.

  • I live in Logan/Shaw metro area and am over in that area pretty frequently. It’s definitely bad for harassment (I’m a youngish female)–probably the worst part of the city that I’ve been in in that respect. Can’t tell if it’s actually gotten worse or if I’m just getting more sensitive to it, but I’ve definitely started to avoid walking through Bloomingdale when I’m not purposefully heading to a destination: I’ve found the crap is much worse when I look like I’m ambling/walking the dog/jogging etc.

  • I walk around with my wife and dog all the time at many times of day. We have never experienced anything even remotely close to even one of these encounters. Is there a problem house that is in your immediate vicinity? Honestly, its the fellow newcomers^/gentrifiers that have been the most unpleasant to me, personally.

    We have seen people yelling at each other, seen police called for disturbances, heard of robberies. We have a lot of friends in the area and the worst thats happened was a day time burglary and a car broken into over night. Both of those incidents were at least 4 years ago.

    My perception is that the neighborhood is much safer than even 2 years ago and i feel safer here than most neighborhoods, even some of those that are widely regarded as “safer” (i.e. columbia heights, etc).

    • This is my experience as well, almost to a T. I have not experienced anything like this myself, and I often work from home/walk the dogs in the afternoon. My girlfriend has not reported anything similar either (also often works from home). Our dogs are far from intimidating.
      Quite on the contrary, I found most longtime residents to be very nice and polite; my smile/hello is much better perceived by most longtime residents than by the relative newcomers. I’m sorry that you were threatened and harassed. From your description (guys cruising in cars), it seems like these are not local residents but folks coming in from elsewhere. I honestly don’t think that the perps are the ones getting zonked out on synthetic weed like some mentioned earlier – those people are almost literal zombies from my experience.

      • Yeah, I have been in Bloomingdale/Eckington just over 8 years, and in my anecdotal experience it seems that crime-related things have vastly improved, other than home burglaries. The not-very-friendly newer residents phenomenon has been quite noticeable to us, too. But, some blocks are still rougher than others.

        Is there a description of the car(s) the harrassers are driving so people can be on the lookout?

    • i’ve found newcomers, old timers, blacks, whites, latinos, asians all a mixed bag really. some cool. some not. some friendly, some reserved. hard to judge a person by their race or time living somewhere. seems absurd to even try to draw those lines.

      and i usually see more indifference than fear in those that remain quiet.

  • I’m sorry this is happening to you. As a female, I’ve been threatened with rape and violence by cat callers in the U Street/Shaw area. It’s scary and uncomfortable, especially since it’s in your backyard. I agree that taking out your cell phone and recording is, in theory a great idea, but in practice can be dangerous. They do these abhorrent things because they think they can get away with it and have no consequences. This may be far-fetched, but what about putting a camera in a backpack like the woman in NYC did to expose street harassment? You could turn around so the backpack faces these animals and catch them in the act. Not sure what the police could or would do about it, but exposing them on a website like this will make people more cautious if they see their faces or vehicles.

  • I also am a woman living in the same area as the OP. I have not experienced harassment on the level of what she describes, but did have at least one incident of being followed down 1st street NW between T and Rhode Island by a car while being harrassed. But unfortunately, I find very few areas of DC to be safe from catcalling.

    I’ll also mention that I no longer have ANY packages sent to my house after having mail go missing several times and boxes ripped open while sitting in broad daylight in front of my house. I don’t intend to hijack this post, but I would love to know what others in the area do for package delivery.

    • I have mine sent to my office. If it’s a rather large package (I take the Metro to work) or a really important package, though, I generally request that I work from home that day and retrieve it myself. I know this isn’t ideal for most people (especially gov employees), but I still have yet to come up with another alternative. I think some people I know signed up for services through UPS and FedEx to hold their packages for them, but I think a fee is involved. Depending on how often you receive packages, the fees could add up. Hope this helps.

      • You can have any FedEx package rerouted to a FedEx Office location at any point while it is enroute. It’s an option you can select from the package tracking page. I live in Bloomingdale and have my packages held at the locations on 14th St or in Mt Vernon Square depending on where I will be during the day.

  • I just read all of these comments after posting mine…

    Is this all in a certain part of Bloomingdale that I just dont frequent? I admit to staying mostly on 1st and North Capitol, but occasionally venturing northwest towards LeDroit and I rarely even see a sketchy character till I get to the Ledroit Park Park. None of my friends/neighbors have reported this type of stuff either. The only thing that gets a bit sketchy are the drunks that hang out in front of yoga district. That whole situation creeps me out, but they’re a bit of a constant, sort of like a dull hum from a generator. My wife, who attends classes there, reports when she is on her own the standard street harassment that unfortunately she, and most women endure throughout cities, but nothing about violence or rape or anything of the sort. You know, just your garden variety sexual harassment of “hey pretty lady”, etc.

    Its not as if my wife and I are massive intimidating half beast half humans walking Cerberus. I grew up in a big city so maybe I’m jaded, but she grew up in a tony suburb of a midwestern city. What is accounting for the massive differences in perception? Is it that we just arent frequenting the sketchy areas?

    • I don’t live in Bloomingdale, but things in D.C. can be so different from one block to another (and from one individual’s experience to another’s) that I’m guessing it’s a matter of different experiences, not different perceptions.

    • I am not sure where the OP lives, but as someone who lives near 2nd and Florida, I think there are more issues in the area within the pocket of 3rd/Florida/Rhode Island and 2nd as the OP refers to than other parts of Bloomingdale. At least from our experience.

  • i’m a young woman who has lived in bloomingdale for almost 5 years, i wouldn’t necessarily say i’ve noticed an uptick in crime…i’ve noticed all these things, but i feel like i’ve noticed them the whole time i’ve been here. catcalling, muggings, burglaries, etc. i love my neighborhood, but i do not walk around – except maybe to the 80 stop at the end of my street – at all after dark. i feel a little safer on my bike, but if i’m not biking or driving, i’m calling an uber.

    i think walking up first street at night is now less safe than ever with the DC water construction – the giant wall they’ve erected at V st? if you are walking alone behind that thing…it just seems like crime waiting to happen.

    LT – i am lucky enough to be able to have packages delivered to my parents’ house close by in a neighborhood with less package-stealing, or delivered to my office. if you can’t have stuff delivered to your office, i’d recommend having it held at the facility and going to get it. sucks, but so does having your stuff stolen.

  • OP, you have my sympathy – this sounds awful. All I can say is that I second the recommendations to get involved, call 911, follow up on the police listserves, etc and encourage others to do the same.

    I have lived in Petworth for 9 years very close to the Farmer’s Market. When I moved in there were 2 very active drug houses on my block and daily police checkpoints on my corner. I saw people getting arrested on a daily basis from my living room window; there were regular shootings in the area; I often saw assaults from my house. There was a homicide on my block in 2006. I didn’t walk anywhere – I would drive the 2 blocks to the crummy old Safeway and wouldn’t walk 2 blocks home from the bus at Georgia & Taylor.

    All I can say is the squeaky wheel gets the grease – it took YEARS but both drug houses were shut down (owners forced to sell, one by a court order from the US Attorney for DC because the house had been declared a drug nuisance property). The neighborhood is unrecognizable from the way it was when I first moved in – as virtually all the crime stemmed from these 2 houses. Just stick to it and report anything and everything and demand accountability from the police and local officials – it can and will change!

  • Ah, Bloomingdale, and Long-Term Residents. I remember cycling down S Street NW on a fine autumn day, so happy to be moving in, two years ago. I smiled at a group of young gentlemen, my new neighbors, then nodded and said “Hey!”

    The welcoming reply from their leader, with his stern, fixed jaw and cold eyes: “Hi me, m___ f___. You white.”

    • Wow. Not questioning your experience (or the OP’s), but I’ve lived in Bloomingdale for over a decade and the worst that’s ever happened when I said hello or smiled at someone is a non-response. On the contrary, like some of the PP’s, I’ve found most longtime residents to be very friendly (and in fact, a big part of what sold us on the neighborhood).

    • I walk around Bloomingdale every day with my dog. Almost every black person looks at me and either says “hey” or “how ya doing.” Almost every white person looks down at the sidewalk and says nothing. I’m a white male and in five years haven’t had a black person say one derogatory thing to me.

      • epric002

        +1 as a white female (in coheights/petworth) i have had a very similar experience.

      • Lucky you. I had my breast grabbed while walking home from Giant in Columbia Heights because I had bags in my hands and couldn’t defend myself.

      • Yes yes yes to this. I live in Bloomingdale and spend hours walking around with my baby. Virtually every black person gives us a warm hello, while most white people (except those with young kids) look awkwardly away.

    • Blithe

      “…their leader, with his stern, fixed jaw and cold eyes…” Boy, would I LOVE to hear the other side of this encounter. First off, how did you determine who was “their leader”? And what on earth does that mean? When you hang out with your friends and neighbors, is there a designated leader? Just curious. Second, if someone indeed has “cold eyes”, why would you initiate an encounter with them, and what would you expect to happen? Or were the “cold eyes” and “stern fixed jaw” in response to your jocular efforts at reaching out to the natives? It’s interesting how people project their &$#%, and are apparently unprepared for the responses that they get. I can also appreciate the somewhat subtle advice you got: In my circles, at least, “Hey” is restricted for people with whom one has a comfortable relationship. “Hi” would have indeed been a better way to respectfully approach a group of new neighbors.

  • I’ve noticed Bloomingdale is filled with tense rich new residents charging expensive dinners.

    • I do wonder whether those who think things are bad in Bloomingdale these days realize that Big Bear used to be a corner store with significant commerce of the illegal variety out front. Or that Windows was the neighborhood establishment without a partition between you and the cashier.

      There’s crime, certainly, but it bears little resemblance to the neighborhood it used to be.

    • LOL – but I think this does kind of explain the large spectrum of experiences/perceptions voiced above. (I’m not questioning the validity of anyone’s experience, so don’t go there.)

    • Did somebody say “tense rich new residents charging expensive dinners”?

  • Lived in Bloomingdale 8 years and never had any of these problems. I am usually walking an enormous dog so that may make a difference but people have been consistently civil in a variety of circumstances.

  • WOW. I thought I was the only one that started noticing this stuff. Over the last year or so I’ve noticed Bloomingdale change more than I ever have since the 4 years I have been living here. This past year, unfortunately- hasn’t been for the better than compared to years before. From more graffiti, to stolen packages, threats of violence, to daytime drug deals and even the recent “death investigation” that happened behind my building.

    I personally have contacted our ANC, TJ- who has been really great and resourceful. I encourage all of my neighbors to contact her to raise your concerns and help bring us the much needed police presence. MPD also seems to have distributed fliers as well looking for tips on the drug deals that may be happening.

    I too have my own concerns about Aida electronics, and one of it’s neighbors. As well as the BP station who has customers that frequent all the aforementioned places. Police haven’t done much- but I’m hoping the concerned neighbors voices and recent events will change that.

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