Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Cop Data: Drop in Crime in C. Heights & Surrounding Hoods

A New Columbia Heights blog query of DC Metropolitan Police Department crime statistics shows a drop in almost every category of violent and property crime, except for one notable exception: Robbery with a gun.

The DC police website is surprisingly friendly to those seeking data about crime statistics in the District. There are lots of conflicting theories bouncing around about gentrification and crime in Columbia Heights. Some of the notable ones are 1) with gentrification, crime will decrease with greater neighborhood prosperity; and 2) the increasing income disparity as new wealthier residents move in next to less economically prosperous older residents may drive up crime rates. So I decided to test them with the violent and property crime data for police district three which covers Columbia Heights, Mount Pleasant, Adams Morgan, parts of Georgia Petworth, Reed Cooke, Shaw and the U Street area -- essentially most of Ward One, represented by Councilman Jim Graham.

The data doesn't settle either theory to rest definitively, but is worth a look. Overall -- compared to the same period last year, January through early May -- violent crime is down 13%, not an insignificant drop. Yet robbery with a gun is up 17%: Evidence of greater income disparity driving muggings? The statistic itself isn't enough to go on alone.

Property crimes only see a slight drop, except for almost a quarter fewer stolen cars. The arson numbers also see a big drop, but there are so few, the drop is statistically insignificant.


  1. Euclid ResidentMay 9, 2008 at 8:46 AM

    This is very interesting -- thanks for posting.

  2. Thanks for the posting this. I agree that gentrification may lead to certain crime issues even as it brings benefits too.

    If someone is new to the neighborhood and wants to learn more about the "feel" with respect to crime - like whether people feel safe walking on specific streets at night - where is a good place to learn this? I have seen a couple of discussion groups - maybe you know of some? It's been several years since I lived in Columbia Heights.


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