With a crime rate of 60 per thousand residents, Washington DC has one of the highest crime rates in the US. Based on FBI reported crime data, your possibility of becoming a victim of one of these crimes in DC is one in 100. Of course, this is not to say that Washington DC is generally dangerous. There are just some neighborhoods that are more unsafe than others.
Deanwood, Brentwood, and Stadium-Armory are always present on the list of worst neighborhoods in DC. And with the consistently high crime rates in these areas, it’s easy to see why. So, whether you are planning to visit or move to DC, you may want to watch out for these neighborhoods.
High crime is what makes a neighborhood bad, which is associated with poverty, gangs, and drugs. In this article, we listed the neighborhoods that are notorious for crime.
Table of Contents
- Crime Overview in Washington DC
- Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Washington DC
- How is the Overall Safety in Washington DC?
- Is it Safe to Live in Washington DC?
- Is It Safe to Travel in Washington DC?
Crime Overview in Washington DC
Every city has it’s good and bad areas – Sacramento and Las Vegas for example, also have their fair share of dangerous neighborhoods. So, this is not to say that Washington DC is a dangerous place to be.
In fact, Washington DC is constantly seen on the lists of best cities to live in the US. With its rich history and endless things to do, many people are attracted to visit or even live here.
High Rate of Violent Crimes
But going back to the crime rates, DC also has the highest violent crime rates all across the nation. Violent offenses recorded included armed robbery, murder, and manslaughter, rape, as well as aggravated assault, which includes assault with a deadly weapon.
Suggestively, based on the number of cases of murders reported by the FBI and the number of the city’s population, shows that DC also experiences one of the higher murder rates in the country.
Lots of Property Crime
Additionally, a big portion of the recorded crimes that take place in DC is property crime. These property crimes include burglary, motor vehicle theft, as well as arson. According to reports, DC has one of the highest rates of motor vehicle theft in the US. FBI crime data shows that the possibility of your car being stolen in DC is one in 271.
Washington DC is notorious for having some very dangerous neighborhoods. Below, we listed some of the ones with the highest crime rates based on the city’s Metropolitan Police Department.
Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Washington DC
- Total Crime: 8,760/100k people
Located on the Northeast edge of the city, Deanwood is one of the oldest neighborhoods in DC. This area will give you a small-town vibe in the middle of the city. This is a two-square-mile reserve and neighborhood profoundly immersed in history. At one point, Deanwood was one of the earliest all-African American enclaves in the city.
As mentioned earlier, Deanwood regularly ranks on the list of most dangerous neighborhoods in DC. The crime rates in Deanwood are 240% higher compared to the national average. Here, you have a 1 in 12 possibilities of becoming a victim of crime,
Assault and robbery are the most commonly committed crimes in this neighborhood. Walking here at night is also something you shouldn’t dare to do if you’re not from here.
- Total Crime: 9,271/100k people
Also, a neighborhood in District of Columbia County, Brentwood is another neighborhood that’s known to be dangerous. This has long been a neighborhood where families raised their kids and stayed for many years.
Having a population of 28,660, this is another neighborhood you don’t want to walk around in at night. Brentwood has a total crime rate of 9,271 per 100,000 residents. Compared to the national average, violent crime in this neighborhood is 259% higher.
A big portion of total crime rates is made of theft and assault. Here, shootings in broad daylight are almost a common occurrence.
- Total Crime: 5,392/100k people
Once projected to be a manufacturing and commercial center of Washington DC, Anacostia now finds itself isolated from the bulk of the city. Today, Anacostia’s crime rate is reported as 38% higher than the rest of the county.
Unemployment 12%, compared to 6% for the whole county. High school dropout rates continue to be around 40%, and 24.1% of residents don’t have a high school diploma. Gang activity and drugs continue to be prevalent.
In Anacostia, violent crimes are 342% higher than the national average, which signals a high crime rate. Everyone is warned not to walk alone after dark. Walking in sketchy alleys even in broad daylight is something you don’t want to do either. Your chances of becoming a crime victim in this neighborhood are one in 19.
- Total Crime: 6,483/100k people
A neighborhood that is made of a population of 21,142, Stadium-Armory is another infamous area for crimes. Compared to the national average, Stadium-Armory crime rates are 151% higher. This area has a reputation for crime and low-income housing.
Stadium-Armory is not a walkable place and very dodgy. Getting robbed at gunpoint seems to be a common story among locals. So, walking here at night will be accompanied by elevated heartbeats.
When getting around with public transport, it’s best to take a taxi rather than the metro, especially at night. Here, you have a one in 16 possibilities of becoming a crime victim.
- Total Crime: 8,896/100k people
Shaw is a central neighborhood in the Northwest quadrant of Washington DC. This neighborhood has a long history of riots, drugs, and crime.
After the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in April 1968, riots took place at the intersection of 14th St & U St. These riots caused significant damage to 1,200 buildings and led to thousands of people losing their job.
With the introduction of cocaine in the 1970s and 1980s and more and more residents and businesses fleeing from the area, Shaw acceded to urban blight. The whole neighborhood was considered to be unsafe because of widespread prostitution and drug use.
Today, crime rates in this neighborhood are 245% higher compared to the national average. Here, you have a one in 12 possibilities of becoming a victim of crime.
2. LeDroit Park
- Total Crime: 6,723/100k people
LeDroit Park is another DC neighborhood that is known to be less safe. LeDroit Park is a neighborhood located directly southeast of Howard University. It is surrounded by W Street to the north, Rhode Island Avenue, and Florida Avenue to the south, Second Street NW to the east, and Howard University to the west.
Cases of robberies here are rampant. Fortunately, while the neighborhood used to be an open-air drug market in the 90s, that’s not the thing anymore.
Compared to the national average, Ledroit Park crime rates are 161% higher. In this neighborhood, you have a one in 15 chance of becoming a victim of crime.
1. U Street Corridor
- Total Crime: N/A
A very vibrant neighborhood with a collection of boutique shops, nightclubs, restaurants, and art galleries U Street Corridor. This is definitely one of the busiest neighborhoods in DC.
U Street Corridor has a population of 10,194. The criminals in this neighborhood seem to focus on doing property to violent crimes in a ratio of 6:1. Here, you have a one in 10 probability of becoming a crime victim.
While walking here at night is safer than most of the neighborhoods in this list, you’d still want to stick to daytime strolling.
How is the Overall Safety in Washington DC?
Back in the year 1991, Washington DC was known as the “murder capital”. This is due to a tremendously high number of homicides per annum. Fortunately, these numbers have dropped suggestively. Today, you’re very unlikely to experience anything similar to a violent crime.
Only Some Neighborhoods Are Unsafe
In general, chance murders don’t happen that frequently in the US. Most of the time, people who have been victims of killing have known their suspects for a long time before the crime took place. The crime that happens Washington DC is normally curbed to certain unsafe neighborhoods and people that already know each other.
However, this is not to say it’s okay not to be vigilant. Whether you’re planning to live here or just to visit, it’s important to take common precaution measures. Just as you would in any other city, use your common sense and be extra careful. This means trying not to walk alone at night, avoiding dark alleys, and not talking to people you don’t know from the street.
Choose The Right Neighborhood To Live In
Again, try to reconsider staying around the neighborhoods mentioned above. When it comes to crimes of property theft, they are a problem in nightlife-centered neighborhoods. This doesn’t mean you should avoid them at all costs: it would be a shame to miss some of the best things to do in DC. Again, just make sure to stay alert when exploring these neighborhoods.
Don’t Be Flashy In DC
Try not to use your phone or wear jewelry when walking around the sketchy areas. Snatchers are always on surveillance of their next victims – this is especially common around the metro and train stations.
Apart from isolated shootings, Washington DC has not been the target of any terrorist attacks of late, but the attacks should not be ruled out. Always be aware of your surroundings, especially when you are in crowded areas.
Is it Safe to Live in Washington DC?
While Washington DC has some unsafe neighborhoods that you need to be careful of, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s one of the best cities to live in the US.
It is known as a cultural center that’s full of embassies, museums, monuments, and busy restaurants, cafes, and musical hotspots. On top of the many activities to enjoy in Washington DC, there some great neighborhoods for couples, families, and singles.
Some Neighborhoods In DC Are Quite Safe
Some of the best neighborhoods in the city are known to have very low crime rates, access to exceptional public schools, terrific job opportunities, and excellent local amenities.vThe country’s capital metro area’s population is fairly young. Mainly because of its numerous universities and plenty of job opportunities. The city has a strong job market that attracts people from all over the world.
When looking for a place to live, the safety of the neighborhood is one of our first concerns. After all, no one wants to live in a place surrounded by crime and violence. And if you’re considering living in Washington DC, this is something you shouldn’t worry about – as long as you choose the right neighborhood.
Diverse Cultures and Social Scenes
The diverse crowds, colorful streets, and exciting social scene in neighborhoods such as DuPont Circle, Adams Morgan, and Cleveland Park make it a great pick for young professionals. However, DC caters to all ages. If you are looking for quieter areas, then check out Bethesda, Silver Spring, and Arlington.
If you choose to make Washington DC your next home, you will have plenty of high-quality neighborhoods to choose from. The quality of life in DC is great and the list above shouldn’t rule this city out as your next potential home.
Is It Safe to Travel in Washington DC?
Generally, Washington DC is a very safe place to travel too. But then again, some areas might make your heart beat faster. Fortunately, serious crime in the city usually takes place in the parts or neighborhoods that are not usually visited by tourists.
Pickpockets and snatching can be a problem in public transport and other places with bigger crowds. So, when visiting DC, always watch out for your stuff when you’re exploring around, especially when you’re alone.
Watch Out For Muggers & Scammers
There are some neighborhoods where muggings can be an issue. These are places that are popular for the nightlife scene. You don’t have to avoid them, just make sure to take extra precaution.
Just like anywhere in the world that is frequented by tourists, there are chances for you to stumble upon people who will try to scam you in DC. Know that homeless people can be pretty aggressive if you refuse to give them money.
Be aware of anyone trying to stop you on the street or distract you, flashing huge signs in front of you, and ATMs that seem like they have been tampered with.