An Extensive List of DC Gangs/Crews?

by Prince Of Petworth January 7, 2009 at 11:03 pm 2,185 75 Comments

Upshur grafitti, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

Wow, a reader sent a link from a City-Data Forum listing all(?) of DC’s gangs and crews. I had no idea there were so many. The reader writes:

“Yikes, it’s scary to think there are so many in our midst and the city doesn’t do more to crack down on it.”

I’d like to think the city does a lot to crack down on them but in reality how can you crack down on so many? I’m guessing it’s what we’ve talked about dozens of times – improving schools, improving parental responsibility, etc. It’s obviously a much bigger issue than simply law enforcement. I saw a great documentary on PBS about crews from the south side of Chicago and how the crews really became a substitute for the lack of family structure to a certain degree. I don’t publish this list as a scare tactic, rather I think it’s important to realize just how big this problem is (even if only half of these names are legit.)

Another reader sent in an article from the NY Times discussing how NYPD had successfully cut crime in tough precincts.

Read it here.

A different reader also wrote in suggesting another perspective might be interesting from this article, The Cost of Fearing Strangers:

Read it here.

After the jump find the full list of DC crews taken from the City-Data Forum. I obviously don’t know if they are all legit but some of them I, sadly, recognize. Think this gigantic list is legit?  Does it  even matter or for the most part are these crews harmless?

cherryhil-N-marley(AWWW DOWN BOTTOM)
trinidad (it’s tha 12 trin trin trinidad)
28f (marlow heights/durty aka scumbag city bka beef st)
deuce deuce
savanna terrace
shipley terrace (54th steps)
condon terrace
lench mobb (when day holla out tha squad thay talkin bout that)
edge wood
mayfair (mayfair don’t play fair)
paridice(paridice got that dice)
44th tha bay
simple city
choppa city
25 kentland
brightseat rd
palmer park
riggs park (cause thay b ghetto)
potomac gardens
glassmanor (1001)
wac walla
bradberry height
barry farms (oy 1 way up)
3rd world
kdy (9th 7th down 1st 2 kdy)
rock creek
big 30
forst heights
forest creek (it’s tha whooollllleee)
da borda
good luck rd
640 (hey 40 boyz)
3500 (were thay at there thay go)
maple ave
homer ave
chaple rd
walker mill
swann road
***** walk
abm stars
most wanted
16th-n-death row
breed boys
world view
dread heads
2fly hunnies
butler garden
cover gurls
unexpected hunnies
killa mafia
trenton park
big bad orleans
rock mafia
highway *****s
stay fresh hunnies
highway hunnie
triple f
riverdale (rvd)
1-5 million airs
congress park
10th place
garfield terrace
wellington park
letroit park
staton oaks
wayne place
southern ave
wild boyz
cheverly terrace
belle haven
hamlin park
hill rd

Comments (75)

  1. Comedy. First and foremost, with the exception ms-13 and a few other small factions, DC does not subscribe to the “gang” mentality. DC is more based on neighborhoods, blocks.. etc.. which they lovingly call “mobs”. These are are not large crime factions but moreso grassroots operations. True, they can get out of hand in a blue moon.. but to suggest you’re in the war torn streets of Compton is a laughable suggestion. Get with it people.. you moved out of Momma’s house.. welcome to the city.

  2. I know a couple dozen of these groups from myspace pages I print out and send anonymously to Fenty, Graham, MPD, etc. This is pretty much just a list of crews who are on myspace. I have pictures of many of these guys from myspace and from my cellphone.

    Missing from this list are Brown Union, 18th St, the aging Vatos Locos, all of the MS-13 subgroups, Latin Crew, Western Locos, etc. All the above groups are Black-only AFAIK. Remember while Brown Union disappeared in Petworth, they reappeared among the Mexican population of Riverdale, MD. Riverdale USED to be virtually under the control of Pagans MC, a white biker gang and old school Black numbers running, etc. Not anymore.

    Latin gang data is PRETTY GOOD but not perfect in this document:

    Take pictures, write down street names, send them to the FBI, MPD, etc.

  3. Jojo- they get out of hand all the time you damn fool. Murder Capital anyone?

  4. also, there are crews with street designations that are Northeast and other crews on the same streets in NW aren’t listed, so this skews heavily toward NE/SE.

  5. It’s a long and imprecise list. It has existing crews that aren’t listed (7-n-O, LW, etc etc), as well as crews listed that don’t (or no longer) exist in any meaningful way.
    Often, “crews” seem to be just a group of neighborhood kids who grew up together.
    Point being, this list is just one piece of a much bigger picture. It’s pretty meaningless on its own.

  6. And also, there’s no reason someone’s mom who was in a crew and still going to the clubs with them at 40 is going to stop some kid from being in a crew. she WANTS her boy to be a roughneck. Parent’s responsibility to get the kid out of a crew? Yeah, MAYBE if she got born again, but more times than not? She still rolling with her crew from back in the day. Old ladies will talk about getting some smoke or blow from their kids because they won’t buy on the street. Telling them their kid has to stop selling is cutting off their own supply! So you can cross out the word PARENTS from your write up.

  7. So, are gangs unlawful “per se”?

    I’d like to see fewer anthropological surveys of DC’s gangs/crews/mobs/gaggles, and more Giulani-style “broken windows” policing.

    I don’t care if someone is in a gang, but if he’s a criminal, I want him off the street.

  8. Jojo- While they’re not gangs per se, they clearly operate with certain qualities of a gang and are the root of much of the violence in the city… in my most humble opinion…

    Do you like crews? If so, please explain, I’m curious

  9. What is needed is due process, I recall several years near the Kennedy playground on 7th a truce was brokered among crews, as another example at Benning Terrace a number of years ago, law enforcement has a role, what is needed are peacemakers, which the Guardian Angels and others have met this need, and continued vigilance among residents at Park Morton, Garfield Terrace as the markets are not going to do it, Fore and Police are the first responders, churches, social workers, and most of all, families are the safety net with keeping students in school and resisting the lure of “gangs”

  10. It isn’t a gang! It’s a club, man!

    Gangs exist in the absence of a cohesive family unit. What do you expect when one or both parents are dead or in jail, or working three jobs? And even if you magically wipe the gangs away, what are they supposed to do with themselves? Because they can’t all join the chess club.

  11. If gang members stuck to victimizing and killing each other off, I frankly wouldn’t give a sh*t if they existed or not.

  12. Monkey, I fully expect that they all take an ace AP Calculus…duh!

  13. A couple of notes: first, and less importantly, many of the names in the list are simply streets or housing projects. I taught across the street from Mayfair and Paradise, two housing developments in far NE, both of which are on the list, both of which can be rough places (with lots of great kids), but neither of which are gangs in the sense of initiations, organized crimes, or anything like that — just micro-hoods that the kids identify with.

    Second: the graffiti photographed by PoP to illustrate this article made me smile, because it isn’t gang-related at all. “Magic” and “Marv” were both students at the school where I taught. Neither had any connection to gangs. “Magic” — a girl — was one of my best students, and is now in college…hopefully not doing graffiti on other people’s property anymore!

  14. There are a LOT more crews than that here. As someone said before, that list is missing a ton of Latino and NW crews. 1-7 in Adams Morgan/CH and not sure if CTU or 15’n’Monroe are still around. Anyway, the list is much bigger.

    Also for those who live under a rock or just moved here from Kansas, here’s the reality: these crews all sling dope and carry weapons associated with the business to some extent. Yeah, they may be substitutes for real family, but they’re also violent drug enterprises, if relatively small in scale. A lot of the time it’s the younger members trying to prove themselves to older ones, either with money or to prove how tough they are. This is why you gotta watch out for the young dudes with guns – way less predictable and much more prone to f’ you up quicker.

  15. This is comical. Move to LA or Chicago and you’ll learn what real gang activity is all about. Most of the names on that list are just a group of a dozen friends from the same block who thought it would be cool to give themselves a tough sounding name.

  16. Serious question — To the persons differentiating between DC crew activity and real gang activity in other cities, which is more disruptive to ordinary taxpayers? Are better organized gangs more deeply entrenched, less volatile, and more focused on making money while keeping a low police profile.

  17. I think Ro has it right – at least that it’s just the friends on that block. Though I would definitely say it’s worth worrying about. We had just 2 houses causing almost all of the crime in my area, and serious stuff—multiple shootings and almost 2 yrs ago now there was a homicide. Now one of those houses is vacant and the other was bought and renovated. I don’t really see signs of the “7th & Taylor” crew anymore (I have a feeling no one went by that name for a long time anyway)…I think they might be gone for good.

  18. The juxtaposition of the two articles PoP included in this installment was interesting and clever. I’m not sure if anyone here has read Freakonomics, but the basic argument is that alternative policing techniques were not the root cause of the dropping urban crime rates in the 1990s. The main reason was the advent of Roe v Wade. The legalization of abortion in 1973 signifies that young men were never born that would have reached the age in the 1990s when violent crimes are usually committed.
    Not saying I completely subscribe to the view, but theres ample evidence to back the claim up, and little evidence to back up the claim of better policing techniques.

  19. This is sort of funny to me as well. Even the occasional MS-13 or VL crime in DC is nothing compared to the presence of these groups in other cities. Most of these “crews” are probably a lot like the “hillboyz”, who are generally located between PoP’s house, Grant Circle, and the cemetery. As far as I can tell the Hillboyz are comprised of six skinny teens who play b-ball occasionally at alleyway hoops — and a three-legged cat named Chester.

    DC doesn’t have a gang problem, DC has a general problem with violent crime in poor neighborhoods with a very occasional spillover to other parts of the city. DC also has a problem with recidivism among both violent criminals and petty ones. And finally, DC has a broken juvenile justice system. Those are real problems that need to be addressed — talk of “gangs” is counter-productive. Police often like to talk about gangs because talk of gangs lead to shiny new “gang task forces” with shiny budgets to go along with their equally pointless “drug task force”. There were approximately 8500 violent crimes and 29,000 property crimes in DC over the last year, and I’d like a “gang” expert to list me off more than a couple of dozen or so instances of “gang” crimes in DC last year. Good luck.

    Lightning could strike and you might become a victim of a random MS-13 murder, but it’s much, much more likely your dumb ass is going to die falling down the icy steps of your rowhouse or by taking a fall in the shower. The people who generally die violently in this city aren’t white and rich, so why are so many white people scared to death of “gangs” muthering them? You’d be just as justified in being scared of space aliens melting your pea brain or a comet smashing your newly renovated rowhouse and destroying your (let me guess) stainless steel appliances and granite countertops.

    While having irrational fear about violent crime actually happening to you is a pointless exercise, it is still true that we all ought to be doing something about the gun culture here to try and stem the sadly high death toll and nudge some of our fellow citizens in the right direction. We need to make sure that repeat offenders are not simply being returned to the streets to create more mayhem for our neighbors — and ultimately we need to undertake some serious reforms to the juvenile justice system so that the majority of kids caught in the web can be rescued from a pointless life and the predators can be locked up. These are tough issues, no doubt, but worrying about BS like “gangs” gets us nowhere fast.

    As you might recall some of us were interested in continuing a serious dialog with city government about these important criminal justice issues, and now that the holidays are over, hopefully there will be some movement on that front.

    P.S. I am sadly disappointed that my “gang”, the Grant Circle Pop’N’Locker Crew failed to make this list. I think this is a direct result of those jealous, jealous Sherman Circlers (spit), who can’t bust a move to save their shabby souls.

  20. “magic” is tagged all over the city so I think its more than just a high achieving female student. try riding the red line to silver spring to check out the magic graffiti. And yes, pretty much any gang ending in “terrace” or “garden” is a housing project. Even more reason to bulldoze barry farms, garfield terrace on anything on Clifton street and rebuild mixed income/use. The cabrini green days are over in Chicago and they need to be over in DC! Public housing is the root of gang activity.

  21. I think there is a lot more going on with latino gangs in PG county. There you see a lot more typical “gang’ activity than a lot of the neighborhood crew stuff you’ve referenced.

  22. “White and rich” and “white” are not synonymous, Odentex–i’d hope you know that from experience (unless you are intentionally “slumming” in Petworth while hiding your millions in a Swiss account somewhere.) Those of us not-rich white people who can’t ensconce ourselves in walled compounds with security guards get to live in the same real world as not-rich black, brown and other-hued people, and are subject to the chance of random acts of ridiculous, unprovoked violence that is significantly higher than having our rowhouses hit by a comet. Call them what you will…”gangs,” “crews” “mobs,” “factions…” when groups of thugs go around beating up people for no reason, or mugging folks for a couple hundred dollars worth of Ipod, it’s a problem.

    i agree that the “gangs” here are not large, well-organized criminal enterprises. but doesn’t make them any less dangerous. arguably, it makes them MORE dangerous to the general public who are not gang-bangers, because with centralized control of large gangs, there is less random crime on non-gang members. with real gangs, the largest amount of the violence occurs against other gangs, not beating up strangers at a metro stop for shits and giggles.

    i don’t live in fear, but i do live in an enhance awareness of my environment, and you’d be a fool not to.

  23. The boys up in my area go by Rittenhouse Crew (RHC), which they tag in various places. Then there’s the Crittendon Crew farther down Georgia. RHC used to have some older guys who did some killing and slinging dope, but in recent years AFAIK its a group of 12 year old thug-wannabes who steal from cars and backyards, vandalize stuff, etc. They may be involved in some of the beating robberies around Takoma, but no real proof of that. Also, Coolidge High School and the adjoining Takoma Rec Center (and to a lesser extent Whittier Elementary) is a good place to view various crew tags, RHC, CC, SCC (Sursum Corda), South Side, and a bunch of others. Since kids from all over the city go to that school for its football program, you get the usual neighborhood clashes (er, sorry, “beefs” in official parlance).

    Apparently a while ago there was a small crew in MD along Flower Avenue, called the Flower Avenue Boys. FAB-ulous!!!

    I think Chester the three legged cat may be the local godfather, and is probably the smartest entity involved…

  24. I love it! Teachers who know the identity of vandals and don’t report them, criminal enterprises identifying themselves by the block where they live and then putting up their mugshots on Myspace … and I wonder why these problems are unabated and “crew-related” violent crimes, including murders, remain unsolved. But hey, rest easy — these are crews, not gangs. At least until some of these guys get smart and start to merge their small, one-block efforts to make whatever they’re doing a little more profitable over a larger area.

  25. Anon @ 10:17: And you lived or worked in “public housing” where and when, exactly? There are plenty of well run highrise public housing projects and plenty of poorly run voucher programs. It all comes down to local management and government.

    To paraphrase from one of Nate’s NRA pamphlets: “Buildings don’t commit crimes, people commit crimes.”

    The idea that tearing down a building leads to “less crime” is baseless, and in the case of cities like Memphis, this route has been proven to be unworkable (http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200807/memphis-crime). Simply dispersing poor people doesn’t do a thing if the government fails to provide basic services, opportunity, and most important of all, fails to remove the criminal element from the mix.

    What this sort of talk often boils down to is the “solution” of moving poor people somewhere else — and this might satisfy NIMBY concerns — but it really does nothing to stop crime or help the victims of crime who, despite the incessant bleating on DC blogs, are overwhelmingly poor people living right next to the criminals involved. I understand that crime frustrations (both real and perceived) lead otherwise reasonable people to suggest the “PG County Solution” of forced migration, and while some people may differ on the efficacy of this route, the fact remains that it’s a total fantasy. Those projects ain’t going nowhere.

    What can be done, and what should be done, is simply enforcing the law and removing the small % of recidivists and mentally unhinged people from the streets. That’s a solution that is realistic — shipping poor people out of town or down the street isn’t.

  26. Anon 10:41, you statement about large gangs not being involved in random crime is just flat out inaccurate. I grew up in Chicago during the 70s and 80s in the heyday of large well organized street gangs, we’re talking thousands of active unified members spread out and controlling large swaths of the city, terrorizing the citizens at will. There were parts of certain neighborhoods that were pretty much off limits if you weren’t affiliated with the gang or a family member of an affiliate. Even the police avoided these sections. These thugs made a sport of beating up any non gang member who dared to cross their path, or had the wrong color pattern on. Basically if you weren’t one of them, you were fair game for robbery, burglary or just a beat-down for the hell of it. This led to huge spike in violent street robberies and assaults. The crime was rampant and the fear among citizens was very real. You had apartment complexes that were completely taken over, several blocks of major roads effectively blocked off by the gangs and entire floors of schools that were basically co-opted by these thugs. The fact that they were so large and organized gave them a level of power that is unrivaled by most of the mickey mouse clubs here in DC that spend most of their time stealing an ipod or two and spray painting graffiti.

  27. And what do you expect to happen when these 12 y.o. wannabe thugs become 17? Oh wait, I’m not supposed to think about that, am I? As long as I simply dismiss deviant behavior now it won’t bite me in the ass later, right?

  28. NAB, many will indeed move on to killing, if they live that long. I don’t plan on being their neighbor that long of course, 12 months and a wake up and I can leave DC, gods willing. In the shorter term I will turn a problem into opportunity by investing in prison corporations.

  29. Anon @ 10:41: If you are living in DC and white you are rich whether you like the designation or not. Demographically your household income is $92,000, at least one member of your household is employed, and you are likely to have graduated from high school. Sorry, I don’t want to hurt your street cred or anything, but denying this while you live in DC, a city with the largest gap between rich and poor in the United States, is truly stunning. The facts are that while the average white household brings in nearly 6 figures, the average black household in DC brings in less than $35 grand. Sorry if that hurts your preconceptions, but anyone buying a $300K condo or a $500K house is rich by the standards of just about every American, white or black.

    The fact that you have to (deary me) expose yourself to the proles when walking to the train with your iPod, doesn’t make you “poor”. Further, if you are trying to dissuade me from my notion that there are a bunch of rich, white paranoids living here you don’t git far down that road by stammering out “groups of thugs go around beating up people for no reason”!

    You’ve been beaten how many times by a “crew” exactly?


  30. Ro
    your description of Chicago gangs in the 80’s sounds a lot like some of the “crews” here. “crews” are just smaller scale; instead of controlling large sections of a city, they rule their block or two, but in the same manner (and less emphasis on clothing colors). personally, i don’t care if the guy trying to assault me belongs to a 500 member gang or a 7 member crew. i just want to be left alone.

  31. Odentex: Really?!? Wow. I have no idea who you’re talking about, but, wow, that’s some serious stereotyping. No one I know makes even half of that astonishing figure. Nobody I know is buying $300K condos. And I have several friends that have been beaten by “crews,” or whatever you want to call a gaggle of bored, aggressive teenagers/young men that beat down random people for good times.

  32. Odentex-

    I was beaten by a “crew” in Adams Morgan in 2004, walking home from the grocery store on a summer’s evening. i assure you, it was not a lot of fun for me, or the four other people who were beaten up in a 1 hour time period by these same clowns.

    you are guilty of incredibly fallacious reasoning. because my race’s “demographic” in DC is rich (by some standard you appear to have arbitrarily chosen), i personally have to be rich, whether i like it or not, regardless of what my individual circumstances are? I suppose if Will Smith moves to DC, he becomes “poor” because “the demographic” for young black men here (according to you) is unemployed, income of under $35,000 and no high school education? Sorry, that’s about the most asinine logic i’ve heard in some time.

    this kind of general attack on everyone who isn’t as “down with it” as yourself undercut any valid point you are trying to make. i’m glad you think there is no potential for random violence in DC. unfortunately, not everyone has the same experience.

  33. Odentex should apologize to the board for his stereotypical, offbase comments. But I don’t think he will, because I don’t think he realizes the hypocrisy of what he says…

  34. Gangs. Crews. Mobs. Whatever. Try posting up on Kennedy or 4th & Delafield without a crew with you. You’ll either be dead or in a gang/crew/mob really soon.

    These gangs, essentially derivatives of the drug market, are consolidating itself from an economic standpoint. Just as there are few independently owned drug and hardware stores anymore due to the competition, there are few solo drug dealers. It is just too dangerous. You have to have some protection. Gangs essentially provide the cover of protection that you and I rely on the police for.

    So focusing on gangs is not the solution. Why these gangs are forming is the issue. For if they were just kids dressing alike, who would have an issue with that?

  35. If you are going to invest in prison stocks, you can’t go wrong with Correction Corps of America (CXW). Its financial report is shockingly positive. I made a fortune going long on call options. GEO is good too. It tries to “rehabilitate” juveniles as well as build prisons. For that it gets paid more revenue per bed. If it wasn’t for the credit markets, these companies could expand to their hearts content.

    I challenge anyone to read the 10K of CXW and come away thinking that this problem will be solved. As the CEO of CXW stated, they are faced with overwhelming demand from younger prisoners that are getting locked up for longer perionds in good times and bad. As such, jobs and other social investments are not the solution. Nor is givign out extremely longer sentencing.

  36. Magic + Marv? I thought it was Tragic + Magic? Was there a pre-college breakup?

  37. are there any white gangs?

  38. White gangs = congress

  39. This thread made my eye’s bleed….
    after reading nothing is going to change some peps minds…

    So many of these crews are gone, and so many are no more than peps who hang out. some violent some not.

    I remember the “Hill Boys” of the late 70’s/80’s and gangster chronicles….

  40. The people who generally die violently in this city aren’t white and rich, so why are so many white people scared to death of “gangs” muthering them?

    I’m not afraid of anyone from the crew murdering me, but I’m afraid:
    1. they will accidentally kill me or a member of my family due to infrequent drive by shootings
    2. They will damage my property more than they have or steal my car
    3. They will rape someone I know
    4. they will impregnate someone underaged (one’s girlfriend was 17 at the oldest even if she was 18 when she had the baby)
    5. They will make it hard for me to sell my house
    6. They will attract petty thieves to the neighborhood- which they do every time they start selling
    7. Some young kid who wants to impress them or get money for drugs will shoot someone, which happens every year and so far the victims have all been white.

  41. white gangs: joint chiefs of staff, green berets… i could go on…

  42. “I am sadly disappointed that my “gang”, the Grant Circle Pop’N’Locker Crew failed to make this list.”


    Don’t worry about it. They left out my crew too. I roll with the 14th & U College Educated Black Men Mob. I guess it’s time to go on another robbing/killing spree in order to get the recognition we deserve. Gotta put my ‘hood on the map!

  43. Man when making $92k per year makes you “rich” you grew up in a crappy neighborhood!

    One of my buddies who went to Wilson is clocking 7 figure end of year bonuses as an attorney.

    I passed $92k some time back, so I get it, but sheeminy, I can’t afford a second car and I can’t afford to move out of DC!

  44. Odentex shouldn’t apologize for anything. He has accurately characterized the norm in DC, particularly regarding the crime paranoia. Exceptions don’t prove that his characterization was incorrect. I’ve literally known more people killed by lightning in DC than shot to death.

  45. There were definitely white gangs in Northwest in the 80s, but none of the guys did anything more than sell drugs and stick up for each other at clubs, which in the 1980s were pretty rough. Pretty much any group of white guys at the Black Hole / Celebrity Hall came together.

    I think the guys I knew the most called themselves Tenley Crew but then changed their name, seriously, to Shipley Terrace Crew (But they all lived near Wilson!)

    There was also the AU Crew. And some other group who called themselves “The Crew.” The Crew might have been located at Maret.

  46. another white gang were these guys from St Johns, but they just called themselves like St Johns or SJC or something. That just gets into school rivalries, you know? those guys would challenge you, but I don’t think they did drugs. But St Johns, you know, military school, they were tough.

  47. Anon: I too was “randomly” beaten when I was in my 20’s, and like you, this experience (and others) colored my understanding of crime for some time to come. Like Nate, I used to irrationally believe I made myself safer by carrying a loaded .357 pistol when I worked in “dangerous” areas. Thankfully I grew up before I put myself in a situation where something bad happened to me (since statistically I was far less safe with a pistol).

    Reality is different from what is commonly perceived when it comes to many issues of crime and violence. There are, on average, 11 armed robberies and another dozen assaults across the district every day. Some days only one of these victims is white, some days none, but overall only a smidgen over 20% are non-black — even though 4 out of 10 Washingtonians are white. The facts are that 79% of violent crime victims in DC are black — and fully 94% of DC homicide victims are black — and blacks only make up about 60% of the population.

    What happens when the victims are white is, shazzam, there’s a blog post about how the Georgia Avenue Metro is the ninth circle of hell and how we need to tear down all the public housing to save ourselves. I’m just pointing out the “fallacious reasoning” inherent in thinking that such preconceptions are the rule. “I was beaten four years ago, therefore ‘crews’ of ‘thugs’ are a major threat.”

    Also, there is nothing “arbitrary” about facts. Unlike feelings and perceptions that seem to function as facts when the topic of crime comes up here, facts are very concrete. The average household income for whites in DC is $92K (2006). That’s a fact. Your personal income may be less, may be more, but I assume from you reticence to discuss facts and instead devolve into calling me “asinine” that your income is above the $35K average for black Washingtonians.

    Do you really want to go down this road insisting that you are somehow working class because you don’t live in the “gated community” you mentioned above? What, exactly, are you trying to prove here? Why are some people so uncomfortable with this notion that they are wealthy compared to their neighbors when they so very obviously are? It’s really odd — along with people compelled to live in a neighborhood or city that they seem to irrationally fear.

    Again, none of this is to say there isn’t crime or that some substantial changes to the defective justice system in DC aren’t in order. But the development of a siege mentality among some members of the community isn’t based on reality nor is it helpful in resolving those issues. Does crime effect whites in DC? Absolutely, it effects everyone whether they are a victim or not. I’m upset about it and I want to do what I can to resolve some of these issues.

    But does violent crime present a serious risk to most whites? Not unless you define “serious” down to a point below the likelihood of stove explosions and hospitalizations after accidentally electrocuting yourself while trying to steal cable. There were 296 violent crimes per 100K population among non-black victims (that 21%) in DC in 2006. A rate comparable to half the non-intentional serious injury (i.e. hospitalization) rate DHHS reports for household accidents (815 per 100K).

    I’m not suggesting you are a evil rich person Anon. I’m not suggesting that you are imagining things or wrong about crime being a huge issue in DC, I’m just suggesting that perhaps, just perhaps, an unpleasant experience and the syncopated hysteria of some fellow blog commentors has obscured reasoning about “crews of thugs” when you really are in more much more danger of falling down the stairs.

    I mean should we even bother to talk about the potential for car accident injuries versus violent assault?

    Further, I never said “there is no potential” for random violence in DC. There is certainly potential — it’s just pretty low, or even extremely low, depending on who you are. Again, you may not like the facts but they remain defiantly in the way when you make such suggestions.


    The Urban Institute study is a bit old, but it’s one of the most recent to focus strictly on DC, and the other large urban numbers show that whites are even LESS likely to be victims (something like 86% non-white victims in NYC in 2002-03 — I’ll try and dig that one up — but I don’t think it’s online).

    Springroad: Facts aren’t “stereotyping”. Facts are facts. You may make well less than the average income, but that doesn’t change it. I was quoting household income numbers from 2006 (http://www.dcfpi.org/10-24-07dc-chap3.pdf), the individual (single person household) numbers are lower, but the gap remains based on race.

    Further, are these facts that anyone really disputes in this city? I mean, really?

    Cite me some numbers to support the idea of this huge mass of struggling DC whiteys barely scraping by with no extra cash for satin NASCAR jackets, bail money to git Pa out for the holidays, or enough scratch to parlay fir a carton of Winstons, and I’ll happily buy you crackers each a roll of tinfoil to put over your windows.

  48. Man all this talk about gangs in my neighborhood just added +5 to my hipster cred. I cant wait to tell all my suburb friends about this

  49. So I love how everyone talks about wanting to move the suburbs to get away from the violence. Two stories for you:

    1. Grew up in rural as it could get southern Virgina. My county is now up to 13 nationally affiliation gangs. Old lady killed at McDonald’s in a drive by, two guys pull into parking lot at gas station and get out of their shot up car and die, two white kids tied to the railroad tracks after witnessing something (we still don’t know what), 62 fights in one six-week period in my jr. high. We were no big city (Walmart parking lot was the entertainment option), but we were one of the first schools in the country to require students to wear photo ID.

    2. I run a meeting that deals with preventing gun violence, with a big focus on gangs. Want to know where all the attendees are coming from? Kansas City, Salt Lake, Hawaii, random places in Maine and Iowa and Oklahoma. Maybe its because they don’t know how to handle the gangs, but it seems to me the small towns are where the gangs are really taking over.

    The burbs ain’t all they’re cracked up to be and DC hasn’t been all that bad if you really want to start comparing things.

  50. Odentex, you do realize the average income for white people in DC is heavily skewed upwards the presence of diplomats and lawyers who make over 100,000k. The rest of us, I’d venture to say the majority of us, make substatially less than that.

  51. Neener: $92K is just the average (median) for us honkies in DC, there are pleeenty of people making a lot more (and less than that), I’m sure.

    The point lost in all of this “me and none of my friends make $100K!” blather isn’t the number itself, it’s the vast chasm between whites and blacks, rich and poor, in the city. Okay Saffron, Taylor, and Stephan, I GET IT, you “only” make $50K for composing podcasts for a non-profit devoted to promoting podcasting for non-profits, but you still make far more the average income of all black folk in this city.

    Oh well, it’s probably only a small casualty in the fact-free blast zone that is the “crime debate” around here.

    And for the record, I personally think $92K a year is “rich”. My daddy never made much more than half that (usually a lot less) and supported a family. Maybe not rich for metro DC, with the one of the highest per capita income rates in the world, but it is to me.

  52. Odentix: While I have no argument against your statistic, I do find the model and reasoning faulty. The “average,” or mean, does not tell a truly accurate story. If you want the salary of the “average” white person in D.C., you have rely on a more scientific model to give you something closer to the mode, which would resemble the old “percentile” reports that are familiar in regards to standardized tests, etc.

    To wit: If Bill Gates moved to D.C., the per capita salary would skyrocket. Would anybody’s salary have changed? Of course not.

    And these “facts” really do us a disservice. Generalizations based on demographics serve no other function than stereotype. Saying all white people are rich is just as suspect as saying all blacks are drug-dealing thugs, all Asians prefer to work in the sciences, all young people are unintelligent, or all old people are senile.

    (on preview): $92K is definitely rich.

  53. Odentex – I generally find your positions thoughtful, informative, and spot-on, but your argument that middle to upper-middle class white professionals are rich is irrelevant and off-base. And while I appreciate your use of statistics, the city-wide ones don’t tell me the relevant story. What about the racial aspects of violent crime committed in racially and socioeconomically mixed areas, like the ones in which most people on this board live. I’m not saying the results are necessarily different than those you claim, but don’t be so dismissive (even disdainful) of other peoples’ concerns. Fear of violence is natural and may be grounded somewhat in reality.

  54. way to go John.

    I don’t think it helps to distill this as if it’s a black vs. white issue. All my neighbors, both black and white, care about crime, and the % of people in my neighborhood who are causing trouble is a small minority.

  55. John: I think the operative word is “fear”. The perception that Petworth is “more violent” than other parts of the city is bolstered by that fear more than the reality. Do some whites become victims because they live in one neighborhood rather than another?


    I think the fact that the Spevak’s lived in what was perceived as a target-rich home up in Friendship Heights probably contributed to their death. If they had chosen to live in Petworth (especially in a house as ugly as mine) they might be alive today, who knows. As someone else mentioned above, you can live in the blandest suburb in the world and that’s no guarantee that you won’t be robbed, killed, or made fun of for being a paranoid.

    I’m simply not going to live my life concerned with unlikely eventualities involving mysterious “gangs” and “crews” that some people are so worried about (but strangely, can’t seem to connect a crime to). Some people chose a different path — more power to them.

    I concede that you can make arguments both ways until you are blue in the face, and it doesn’t matter. People are still hung up on the median income figure as if such quibbles about whether they are “rich” or not change the reality of income disparity in DC. Who are they fooling? I mean, really? What are the worried about? Is somebody is going to demand a reparations check from them if they admit the patently obvious? I’m rich, you’re (likely) rich (you have access to a computer, for one thing), as are many people I know. Unlike crime statistics, whether someone is “rich” or not is very CLEARLY a matter of opinion and perception. I think any single person making over $50K qualifies as “rich”, to me. You can afford rent a nice apartment and still have plenty of money left over to buy an iPod and get in my way in a metro station (damn kids). I think any couple (no kids) making a combined salary of $80K or more is “rich”. So a household with an income of $92K definitely seems on the “rich” side to me. This is my opinion, you may differ, c’est la vie. I sincerely doubt that I am the only person who holds this view about who is rich and who ain’t in NW either — especially since so many of our neighbors have an average household income of $35K.

    None of this is to say that you shouldn’t be smart when flouncing about the neighborhood (I find being 6’2″ and mean also helps) nor that crime in DC is a serious problem, I just find it strange that people get themselves all bothered-up about something that isn’t a likely event.

    Regarding “local” 4D statistics: I know you can get overall numbers of reported crimes, but they don’t break those stats out sufficiently to divine the race of the victims. It’s worth a look, BTW, to see the 4D numbers and how low the violent crime rate in 4D is compared to other parts of the city.


    There were 16 murders through the end of November, sadly an increase from 2007 of three deaths, but every other tracked offense (save burglary) was down from 2007 in 4D. Not that you’d have noticed listening to people. I’m not sure of the total population of 4D, so it’s hard to benchmark these rates, but for the sake of argument, let’s say there are only 75K people in 4D, that makes our overall crime rate comparable to national average rate (4100 per 100K v. 3900 per 100K), and much lower than almost any city (overall) that you can name (including my beloved H-Town).

    But does that reflect the perceptions of some? Not seemingly.

    Finally, stop calling me “thoughtful”, you varmint! You’re going to ruin my street rep with all the gangs and git me kilt.

  56. Odentex’s assumption that only rich white people worry (and do so needlessly) about violent crime is pretty ludicrous. More than 90 percent of my neighbors are african american, and have voiced their concerns about random personal crime in the area. The one point I’d agree with lost in the silly “rich white people are crazy to think they are at any significant risk of random violence” pontifications is that in this city, violence is visited disproportionately on the poor and people of color.

  57. PetworthRes: Who doesn’t “care about crime”? I’m really not picking on you, but that’s sort of a given, isn’t it?

    I just don’t believe that paranoia about “gangs” and being a victim equals “caring about crime”. I agree that the crime situation in DC deserves serious and informed changes in law enforcement, the local justice system, and related social institutions. Shouldn’t we care about crime no matter who the victims are? I think everyone agrees on that too (or should).

    However, serious inquiry requires that discussions about “the DC gang problem” be called out for the specious hokum that it is.

  58. Anon @ 3:10: Where do I “assume” that “only white people worry about crime”?

    Geeze, you rich white folks are touchy.

  59. from your earlier definition, shouldn’t that be “WE rich white folks are touchy?” i mean, you did say we are our demographic.

  60. Good point Anon, I guess I’m just as touchy about being called something as awful as “rich”.

    In my defense I will say that I do not own an ascot or a pair of white spats. I do enjoy crushing the will of the proletariat (is that wrong?)… and chocolate sundaes.

  61. i hate yuppies.

  62. how do you feel about buppies?

  63. I think the “roll call” board on the papalace forums is the place to go for crew/hood talk.

    The Post website had a photo of one a tag-covered wall at Coolidge in one of their articles about the school last year.

  64. As far as white people being targeted because of being rich or whatever, I have to disagree about a couple of things. I am one of the young (white) recent college grads who have been moving into CH/Petworth area recently, and I make about $30 k per year, and pretty much the same for my roommates who are also white. That being said, to all of us $92k seems ridiculously rich, no matter who is making it. and that being said, for one of us to be targeted because we are white, and have an ipod or the likes, is really unfair because it would take months to save up for another ipod if that one gets stolen, and because we simply DON’t make that much more than anyone else in the neighborhood (black or brown or etc).
    However, despite the stereotype that white people are rich, which makes them more of a target for robberies, theft, etc, there’s also the other stereotype that makes white people less of a target : that white people are much more likely to call the police. It is probably more of a statistic than a stereotype but it makes sense that targeting someone who doesn’t want to, or won’t , call the police afterwards, is much easier than someone who will call the police, or has a security camera, etc etc etc.
    So what i am trying to say, i think, is that white people have it both worse and better , at least as far as robberies/theft. The “random” beating up, rapes, and other crimes, of course, may be completely unaffected by race or other demographic, I think.

  65. Anon @ 3:49am: The whole point of this discussion (or at least, the direction it has taken) is that often what we “think” is not supported by the facts. Whites are not victims at nearly the same rate as everyone else in this city, period. I understand that a lot of people “fear” an attack (both black and white), but you’d be better off worrying about being run over in the crosswalk or slipping on ice since those events, statistically, are more likely to cause you serious harm.

    The violent crime rate is now the lowest in DC it has been since 1966 — half the rate from 1992-93. It is lower now than it was during the Clinton years or the first Bush years. Yet you’d hardly know it because people “think” that crime is out of control. Once again, none of this is to say that crime is not an issue, nor that people shouldn’t be interested in addressing crime issues and lowering crime even more, just that PARANOIA about crime shouldn’t be part of the discussion as it is a waste of time and distracts from real issues.

    P.S. I’m taking your iPod and stomping on it if I see you. Damn kids and their iPods have ruint this nation!

  66. Wow. Way to try to stir up liberal guilt and distract from the actual issue of the pervasiveness of DC’s crew problem!

    Even if the math says I’ll likely never be a victim, these are still packs of kids who more often than not are occupying public space — both physically and aurally, by definition (to the extent they’re identifying themselves by geography) territorial and frequently acting like they own the joint, and generally disregarding basic notions of public decency at their discretion. Whether I get the shite kicked out of me or not, that greatly detracts from the general quality of life here. And on top of that, knowing that at least some portion of the crew kids are armed, nihilistic, and capable (in fact, likely guilty) of senseless beatings of other people or worse suggests a potential threat that any sane and informed human should be aware of. When that’s the calculus — and it should be — we have a problem. Perception, in some sense, becomes reality with neighborhood quality of life issues. And both my perception and my reality say that our neck of the woods recently has had some of the city’s highest murder and violent crime rates, and officials largely have tied this to crew activity, even if none of the victims matched my income, skin tone, or shoe size demographic.

    You know, the math also suggests it is pointless to vote in DC, that statistically your vote is highly unlikely to matter, but I’m guessing that you still stood in line at the polls this year.

  67. Anon @1:08: Yep, they need to get those “packs of kids” out of the public spaces immediately since they pose “a potential threat” to your delicate sensibilities — did I mention they “disregard basic notions of public decency”? Heavens! Before you know it these kids, who were born here, are going to start to act all uppity like they “own the joint” and not show the proper respect to landowners like yourself. Who do they think they are?

    This danger is clear. You “know” that crime has gone up and evil “crews” (of young boys in public spaces) are responsible for this invisible crime increase regardless of what people with pesky “facts” and “data” might suggest. While you’ve never actually talked to any of these boys, wouldn’t know a “crew” from a chess club, and are so paranoid that you’d hand over your wallet to a black fella asking for the time, you “know” it in your heart. “Perception is reality” is your mantra, and how could that ever steer you wrong? It worked so well for Bush.

    Each morning you bravely leave behind the dead bolted safety zone and head out into the danger – like a soldier of “public decency” – and every time you just barely make it past these menacing and dangerous 12 year olds that, oh the horror, are… are…

    … so loud.

    Oh Anon! I see the error of my ways! You are not a foolish paranoid, no!

    You “know” things.

  68. Maybe Anon and Odentex should get a room? Obviously in love…

  69. Pennywise: We’d be fine if you stopped peeping, you blog comment voyeur, you.

  70. The sanctimony in here is stifling.

  71. Odentex; move over George Strait!

  72. Thank you, Odentex. I enjoy so much of PoP but whenever it comes to discussions like these, it always goes one way:

    The overwhelming majority assert all sorts of assumptions about people of color–especially those who earn a lower income– and their links to crime (see also: any mention of public housing on this forum), and when someone comes along to point out the places where we have conflated blackness with criminality, THEY are the ones making stereotypes…

    Anon @1:08– public space is just that–public. I’m sorry that as a community we do not work to remove from sight all those who make you uncomfortable. My perception is that all those things you “know” are rooted in racism–reality?

  73. This is a really interesting argument, I’m following from the other side of the Atalantic. I grew up in DC and, after many years am looking at the influence of large scale planning inititives and their effect on the everyday life of the city. Washington has always seemed like quite an unusual case, the hugeness of the Mall and the proposals that have been influenced by it vs. the relative small, tight, neighbourhood commuities that constitute the actual city. The local-ness of the DC crews seems to be to be a part of this. I may be way off the mark but does anyone have an opinion as to why the crews have stayed small?

  74. wholetime yall really have no clue what yall talking about

  75. half of the people on here sound so ignorant.
    i hope you’re proud of yourselves that you’ve basically stereotyped the urban youth of the DMV.
    if THIS is what you think of us.
    if THIS is how yall see us…
    and how you fear us.

    yall some cold bammas.
    straight like that.
    learn the facts about these places and people before you go saying slick stuff like this.


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