Washington DC

10 Worst Neighborhoods In Washington 2023: Exploring the Darker Side

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Washington’s districts are a fascinating mix, each with its own unique character. There are trendy hipster zones, sophisticated quarters, student-friendly locales, and unfortunately, some less desirable areas.

It appears that Washington has a district to suit everyone’s taste.

Despite the city’s consistent high ranking as one of the best places to reside in the nation, thanks to a robust economy and a wealth of entertainment options, not every part of Washington is a bed of roses. Some districts fall short of the mark.

So, the question that comes to mind is, which are the best and worst neighborhoods in Washington?

Today, we’ll employ a combination of data and scientific analysis to identify the Washington neighborhoods that could use a bit of sprucing up – the outliers in the otherwise vibrant Washington landscape, so to speak. It’s unrealistic to expect every neighborhood to be top-notch, although Au-Tenleytown stands out as a shining exception.

We scrutinized 34 of Washington’s neighborhoods to pinpoint the least appealing places to live. These areas don’t quite live up to Washington’s esteemed reputation.

10 Cruddiest Places

Neighborhood Population Median Home Value Median Income Total Crime Rate Higher Than National Average Violent Crime Rate Higher Than National Average
Brentwood 28,660 $375,268 $57,873 91% 176%
Deanwood 29,798 $221,083 $41,869 113% 274%
Anacostia 117,488 $204,972 $38,135 104% 351%
Stadium-Armory 21,142 $383,542 $67,389 140% 274%
South West 11,100 $376,320 $73,812 -25% -39%
Downtown 8,132 $376,550 $96,571 50% 89%
Fort Totten-Upper Northeast 24,123 $409,893 $69,793 52% 81%
Catholic University-Brookland 57,481 $437,657 $77,486 50% 89%
Capitol Hill 55,592 $587,596 $102,238 147% 137%
Columbia Heights 34,835 $549,242 $79,273 112% 129%

Brentwood

    • Population: 28,660
    • Median Home Value: $375,268 
    • Median Income: $57,873 

Brentwood, a neighborhood in Washington DC, has been grappling with crime issues. The total crime rate in Brentwood is 91% higher than the national average, making it a challenging area for residents and law enforcement alike. Violent crimes, in particular, are a significant concern, with rates that are 176% higher than the national average. Despite these statistics, Brentwood has seen a 16% decrease in overall crime from the previous year, indicating that efforts to improve safety may be having an impact.

Deanwood

    • Population: 29,798
    • Median Home Value: $221,083 
    • Median Income: $41,869 

Deanwood, another neighborhood in Washington DC, also struggles with high crime rates. The total crime rate in Deanwood is 113% higher than the national average, and violent crimes are 274% higher than the national average. This indicates a significant safety concern for residents. However, like Brentwood, Deanwood has seen a decrease in crime over the past year, with a 16% reduction in total crime.

Anacostia

    • Population: 117,488
    • Median Home Value: $204,972 
    • Median Income: $38,135 

Located in Southeast Washington, D.C., has crime rates that are notably higher than the national average. The total crime rate is 104% higher, and violent crimes are a staggering 351% higher than the national average. Residents of Anacostia face a 1 in 21 chance of becoming a victim of crime. However, there is a silver lining as the year-over-year crime in Washington has decreased by 16%.

Stadium-Armory

    • Population: 21,142
    • Median Home Value: $383,542 
    • Median Income: $67,389 

Stadium-Armory, another neighborhood in Washington DC, has a high crime rate, with total crime being 140% higher than the national average. Violent crimes are particularly concerning, being 274% higher than the national average. Residents of Stadium-Armory have a 1 in 18 chance of becoming a victim of crime. However, similar to other neighborhoods, Stadium-Armory has seen a decrease in crime over the past year, with a 16% reduction in total crime.

South West

    • Population: 11,100
    • Median Home Value: $376,320 
    • Median Income: $73,812 

Neighborhood in Washington DC that has seen a significant decrease in crime rates over the past year. The total crime rate in South West is 25% lower than the national average, making it safer than 50% of the cities in the United States. Violent crimes are 39% lower than the national average, while property crimes are 22% lower. The chances of becoming a victim of a crime in South West are 1 in 40. Despite these encouraging statistics, it’s always important to stay vigilant and aware of your surroundings.

Downtown

    • Population: 8,132
    • Median Home Value: $376,550 
    • Median Income: $96,571 

Downtown Washington DC is a bustling area with a vibrant nightlife and a rich cultural scene. However, it also has a higher crime rate compared to other neighborhoods. The total crime rate in Downtown is 50% higher than the national average, making it less safe than 8% of the cities in the United States. Violent crimes are 89% higher than the national average, while property crimes are 43% higher. The chances of becoming a victim of a crime in Downtown are 1 in 22. It’s crucial for residents and visitors to be mindful of their safety, especially during late hours.

Fort Totten-Upper Northeast

    • Population: 24,123
    • Median Home Value: $409,893 
    • Median Income: $69,793 

The total crime rate is 52% higher than the national average, making it safer than 53% of the cities in the United States. Violent crimes are 81% higher than the national average, while property crimes are 47% higher. The chances of becoming a victim of a crime in Fort Totten-Upper Northeast are 1 in 29. Residents are advised to take precautions and stay informed about the latest safety measures.

Catholic University-Brookland

    • Population: 57,481
    • Median Home Value: $437,657 
    • Median Income: $77,486 

Total crime rate is 50% higher than the national average, making it safer than 50% of the cities in the United States. Violent crimes are 89% higher than the national average, while property crimes are 43% higher. The chances of becoming a victim of a crime in Catholic University-Brookland are 1 in 29. Despite these statistics, the neighborhood has a strong community spirit and residents are encouraged to participate in local safety initiatives.

Capitol Hill

    • Population: 55,592
    • Median Home Value: $587,596
    • Median Income: $102,238 

Capitol Hill, a historic and politically significant neighborhood in Washington, DC, has been grappling with crime rates that are 147% higher than the national average. Violent crimes in the area are 137% higher than the national average, making it a concerning place for residents and visitors alike. The chance of becoming a victim of crime in Capitol Hill is 1 in 18, which is higher than in many other neighborhoods. The total crime rate is estimated to be 5,802 per 100,000 people, with violent crime estimated at 920 per 100,000 people. Despite these figures, Capitol Hill remains safer than 24% of the cities in District of Columbia.

Columbia Heights

  • Population: 34,835
  • Median Home Value: $549,242 
  • Median Income: $79,273 

Vibrant and diverse neighborhood in Washington, DC, is facing a crime rate that is 112% higher than the national average. The violent crime rate is particularly alarming, being 129% higher than the national average. The chance of becoming a victim of crime in Columbia Heights is 1 in 21, which is a significant concern for those living in or visiting the area. The total crime rate is estimated to be 4,971 per 100,000 people, with violent crime estimated at 888 per 100,000 people. Despite these challenges, Columbia Heights is safer than 29% of the cities in District of Columbia.

Unsolved Mysteries and Tragic Losses: A Glimpse into Washington DC’s Most Horrific Crimes

One of the most horrific crimes in Washington DC’s history is the case of Vickie Lynn Belk, who was abducted, raped, and shot after leaving her work at the Department of Agriculture in D.C. This case remained unsolved for decades, leaving her family and the community in a state of uncertainty and fear. The identity of her attacker was a mystery, and the case went cold, leaving a chilling reminder of the violence that can occur even in the heart of the nation’s capital.

Another gruesome crime that shocked the city was the fatal shooting of a young man, Shawn Jackson, at his high school graduation ceremony in Richmond. His mother witnessed the horrific event, describing the sight of her son as shots were fired. The incident left two people dead and five others wounded, casting a dark shadow over what should have been a joyous celebration of achievement and hope for the future.

In a more recent case, a 75-year-old man from Philadelphia, Bing Wong, was struck and killed by a driver fleeing a Secret Service stop near the White House. The incident resulted in the death of the elderly man and the wounding of a 13-year-old girl. This event served as a stark reminder of the unpredictability of crime and the potential for violence even in the most secure areas of the city.

Top 3 Safest Neighborhoods

  1. DuPont Circle A historical gem, DuPont Circle, once home to presidents and notable figures like Alexander Graham Bell, boasts a low crime rate, especially in terms of violent crime. The vibrant evening atmosphere on Connecticut Ave is a favorite among tourists and the 13,633 residents vouch for the neighborhood’s tranquility and security, reinforced by regular police patrols. DuPont Circle is safer than 26% of the cities in the District of Columbia.
  2. Adam’s Morgan Known for its lively nightlife, Adam’s Morgan is a haven for those who love nature and vibrant parties. Crime is relatively low, with any incidents typically centered around 18th Street, the hub of local bars. Despite its reputation as a party hotspot, the neighborhood is generally safe, attracting a significant police presence. The safest part of Adams Morgan is the Redline area. The neighborhood is home to approximately 17,154 people.
  3. Logan Circle Nestled in the northwest quadrant of DC, Logan Circle is a peaceful neighborhood with a population of 13,768. While crime does occur, incidents are generally isolated and sporadic. The neighborhood’s violent crime rate is only 17% higher than the national average, but property crime, particularly theft, is more prevalent.

FAQ

What is the history of Dupont Circle?

Dupont Circle, located at the intersection of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire Avenues in Northwest Washington, D.C., has served as a neighborhood of diplomats, government officials, war commemorations, and the LGBTQ community for over 200 years. The area was originally named Pacific Circle and was sparsely populated until the late nineteenth century. The neighborhood transformed between 1880 and 1940, eventually including many Victorian and Beaux Arts residences. It became a sought-after address in the 1920s and has been a welcoming place for the city’s LGBTQ community since the 1970s.

What are some notable events that take place in Dupont Circle?

Dupont Circle is known for hosting numerous celebrations and events throughout the year, including the annual Pride Festival and Parade. Since 1986, the Tuesday before Halloween in Dupont Circle means the High Heel Race, where thousands of people gather to watch drag queens race for three blocks down 17th Street in high heels.

What are some of the most horrific crimes in Washington, D.C.’s history? 

Some of the most horrific crimes in Washington, D.C.’s history include the case of Vickie Lynn Belk, who was abducted, raped, and shot after leaving her work at the Department of Agriculture in D.C., and the fatal shooting of a young man, Shawn Jackson, at his high school graduation ceremony in Richmond. In a more recent case, a 75-year-old man from Philadelphia, Bing Wong, was struck and killed by a driver fleeing a Secret Service stop near the White House.

How is the crime rate in Washington, D.C. compared to the national average?

The crime rate in Washington, D.C. varies by neighborhood. Some areas have crime rates that are significantly higher than the national average, particularly in terms of violent crimes. However, there are also neighborhoods in the city that have lower crime rates compared to the national average.

What steps are being taken to improve safety in Washington, D.C.’s neighborhoods?

Efforts to improve safety in Washington, D.C.’s neighborhoods include increased police patrols, community safety initiatives, and programs aimed at reducing crime. In some neighborhoods, these efforts have resulted in a decrease in crime rates over the past year.

What are some of the factors that contribute to the crime rate in a neighborhood?

Several factors can contribute to the crime rate in a neighborhood, including socioeconomic conditions, the availability of jobs, the quality of local schools, and the presence of gangs or drug activity. Other factors can include the design of the neighborhood, the effectiveness of local law enforcement, and the community’s attitudes towards crime and law enforcement.

How can residents contribute to improving safety in their neighborhoods?

Residents can contribute to improving safety in their neighborhoods in several ways. This can include participating in neighborhood watch programs, reporting suspicious activity to the police, keeping their property well-lit and secure, and getting to know their neighbors. Residents can also advocate for resources and policies that address the underlying causes of crime in their community.

Final Words

In conclusion, Washington, D.C., is a city of contrasts, with neighborhoods that cater to a variety of lifestyles and preferences. While some areas are celebrated for their vibrant culture, historic significance, and low crime rates, others are grappling with challenges related to crime and safety. However, it’s important to note that efforts are being made to improve safety across all neighborhoods, with some areas already seeing a decrease in crime rates over the past year. As residents and potential visitors, staying informed about these dynamics can help us make the best decisions about where to live, work, and visit in this diverse and dynamic city.