Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Crime wave in nothern Columbia Heights?

Looks like there's some bad stuff going on in the northern part of Columbia Heights around 14th and Oak (or as some might call it, Tivoli North) -- after lots of listserve traffic, councilmember Jim Graham sent an email to MPD Chief Cathy Lanier and the District's attorney general about prostitution, drugs, and other crimes on 14th, Oak, and Meridian Place. Here's a sampling:

The abandoned property where there is prostitution by young ladies and their johns is 1355 Oak st nw.

The house with suspect activity where I see young ladies (over 18 ethiopian) being picked up and dropped of regularly in the evenings by a man in a gold mini van is 1350 oak st.

Both 1408 Meridian Pl and 1413 Meridian Pl have been determined by DCRA as Vacant Properties and have been forwarded to the Vacant Property Unit

3500 14th. st and behind the building in the alley. There have been several complaints about this area through out the days to the late evenings. Arrests have been made.

The house on Meridian and 14th is 3472 14th Street. Also……. Perry Place brothel moved to 3560 14th Street.
Residents also talk about gunshots and such. This is part of the reason that it's worthwhile to keep track of abandoned houses, bad stuff can go on there. You can report them to the councilman or to the city's Service Request Center,

Last year, there was a crime at brothel at 14th and Quincy, and I've heard rumors about one near the Red Derby.


  1. I'm less worried about the prostitution, and more worried about the gang war.

  2. I was about to post the same link to the WJLA story -- I was under the impression that there was no longer much of a problem with Latin gangs in Columbia Heights, does anyone know more? I agree that prostitution, while problematic, does not bother me nearly as much as violent crime.

  3. Potential CH ResidentMay 13, 2009 at 11:36 AM

    Hey Everyone-

    I'm thinking of moving up to Columbia Heights, so I've been following this blog for a while. Stories like this are kind of unnerving. What would you guys say to people who are thinking of moving up to that area?

    Potential Resident

  4. I've always thought that this sort of thing doesn't really affect people unless they're involved - picking up prostitutes, doing drugs, or in a gang. That seems to especially be the case with Latin American gangs, to me, they leave other people alone. Any other opinions on this?

  5. @ potential CH resident,

    I've lived here 7 years now, and have never been mugged or had my home or car broken into. That said, there are a lot of quality-of-life issues I see on a regular basis; graffiti, littering, public drunkenness, etc. I never really find myself in fear of life or limb, but the petty stuff is aggravating. It is super-convenient to live here, with the Metro, target, gym, restaurants, and shops all clustered within walking distance. Go for it!

  6. I have lived in CH for 3 years and live close to the crime spree area. I do not feel afraid by the criminals - only frustrated with police because the criminals in question are so blatant. However thats DC - cops drag their feet - neighborhood goes into uproar cops respond.

    I really enjoy the area and most of the people are really nice and welcoming.

  7. There is one group that sort of circles around the area between 14th and Spring/Perry/Parkwood and Holmead (also right near the gas station). I have not noticed any uptick but the prostitution thing does bother me as it is an eyesore and a public health issue.

    I think the poster hit the QOL issues on the head if you are thinking of moving here. It is annoyances that you have to learn to live with not fear of violence. Occassional petty theft from vehicles, trash, grafitti etc.

  8. I live ~200 yards from the stabbing, and ~400 yards from the shooting that occured a few hours before. If it wasn't for the news story, and if I hadn't been away at 4 to hear the shots and the police hilo, I would have no idea that any of this had happened.

    Most all of the violent crime in the area, especially the gang related stuff, is pretty much invisible in day to day life (unless, of course, you are IN a gang, but that's another story).

    I don't think I would choose to live anywhere else in the city than Columbia Heights. I'm not actually "worried" about gangs, and I suppose I should be more sensitive in my posts and keep in mind that people who don't live here are using these blogs to garner an opinion of the area. But hands down, I would certainly recommend CH as a place to live.

  9. There are actually a few brothels in that general area. One on Perry place (which might have moved?) and one behind the gas station on Oak next to the Papa John's. A couple of guys hang out on the roof of that one by Papa John's and shoot guns as a warning to the other brothels if they see police coming. The brothels in the neighborhood are pretty well known to organizations that work to help prostitutes, so I assume the MPD knows about them.

  10. Also: how adorably sweet that he calls the prostitutes "young ladies." Nice work Mr. Graham.

  11. Potential CH ResidentMay 14, 2009 at 10:43 AM

    Just wanted to thank everyone for their comments. I'm sure you know the reputation that CH gets from other city folk! I've been really interested in living up there for a while and have a lot of close friends up there, I just needed some reinforcement!

    Thanks again :)

  12. I moved out of Columbia Heights for the greener pastures of Cleveland Park a year ago this weekend. Great move. It wasn't enjoyable hearing gunshots with frequency, dealing with hookers and crackheads on the sidewalk, groups of loiterers yelling ethnic slurs at white who walk by, seeing men taking dumps on the sidewalk in daylight, (it could go on like this for awhile).

    If you don't mind those things, move to Columbia Heights. If that doesn't sound so fun, west of the park might be a better option. We don't see those shenanigans over here.

  13. This makes me so mad. I've lived in CH for a little over 5 years now and this type of activity would not be tolerated east of 16th street. Knowing that prostitution is allowed to continue is unacceptable.

    Close the brothels, prosecute property owners who allow this activity, enforce code violations (if you can find a code inspector not on the take) illegal housing, unlicensed business - and what a difference you'd see in the neighborhood. You might even get rid of the drug dealing that nobody seems to have mentioned.

    Prostitution rings are so fearless that the "perry place" brothel acutally had a guy handing out business cards with the new address on it in the back ally. I know this because he gave me one. Unacceptable.

    If the police are to busy to investiage and prosecute organized crime then send in the code inspectors and shut them down this way.

  14. I have lived in CH for 1 year now, and felt the same as others - it's a gritty neighborhood, but mostly harmless. This changed a bit when I had a gun put in my face last week -- right outside my home. I know that this can happen anywhere in DC, but the fact that it happened here amidst all the stuff we know goes on here forces me to reevaluate the choice I made to live in CH.

  15. I was ambushed on 15th and Fuller 2 days ago May 11th at 9am. A guy came up behind me, put me in a neck lock and put a gun in my back. He asked for money but took my iphone instead. Hes wearing a black hooded jacket and black and white bandanna over his face. The gun is silver. I saw it. hes African American. Someone was shot last night on Columbia and 13th.Thats just a few blocks away. Could it be the same guy?

  16. You should tell the cops that!


Please don't advertise in the comments, and please enter some kind of name when you comment instead of being anonymous.

If the post is more than 28 days old, your comment must be approved first.