The Post reports on shootings near the hearts of Adams Morgan and Columbia Heights. Over the years I got used to the "Where is that?" question when I told people where I live. These days I typically get one of the following:
-"oh cool, I go to such and such. That's a fun area."
-"Well, they say the area is up and coming." (mostly older people.)
-"Oh, I've been there. They have one or two places, but there isn't any place to eat." (I like to follow this one by listing off all the restaurants by geographical location. But then I'm a big nerd, so I would enjoy that.)
-"I've heard about the area, but haven't made it over yet."
-"I've been to a couple of places, but it's really hard to get to, and the area is super sketchy."
It's the last one that bothers me most. Ok, we have crime here. Most of it is theft from auto. Some of it is robberies, or assaults. Most of the time assault victims know their attackers. That, of course, doesn't make it ok, but it eases the fear of being a rando victim. It isn't always true, and many of us know people who've been victims of some type of crime where they didn't know the perp. But, to be frank, I feel safer living here than in Columbia Heights. Maybe it's just me, but I feel like I know too many people who have been robbed in Columbia Heights. And when I say robbed, I mean pistol whipped, punched, or hit in the head with a brick. None of these people were resisting. By contrast, I only know (personally) one guy who was ever violently attacked during a robbery in this area. That was when he resisted (rightly, because the bastards tried to force him into an alley, and you should resist at that point). Of the roommates I've had over the years, only one has ever been mugged. He was a young black guy. He was mugged four times in less than two years. One happened on I Street (around 10th & I). That was an attempt by two bored teens. The police and one kid's grandmother (they came off that kid's own porch) were later called. Another was a latino teen in NoMA. The other two were violent muggings in Columbia Heights. The pistol whipping gave him quite the headache for a few days, but luckly no scars.
Attacks like that are pretty rare on H Street, although I have heard reports of recent muggings between the 1300 block, and the 1100 block. Basically, keep your wits about you, and avoid walking alone at night (particularly if you have been drinking). You can't avoid everything, but you can boost your chances. Overall, I don't worry inordinately. But apparently some people (even those who will blithely walk the streets at night in Columbia Heights or Adams Morgan after a few drinks) still do worry about our area a bit too much. Kind of sad, but hopefully it will change. I grow tired of reading stuff on Yelp that says stuff like "Blah blah is great, but the area is scary." It's a city guys. It isn't NYC in the 1970s, but it is a city. Some people live in Fairfax, or Van Ness because they just like it better. Some people live there because it's like every place they ever lived. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I'd still rather live here.