Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Examiner: "Emerging neighborhoods see crime spike" -- including Bloomingdale & LeDroit Park

Note that both Teri Janine Quinn and Marc Morgan are quoted in this article.

Local: Crime
Emerging neighborhoods see crime spike
By Aubrey Whelan, Staff Reporter-Crime

Ledroit Park, in Northwest D.C., has seen a 30-percent increase in property crime in the last 12 months.

It happened in Adams Morgan, in Dupont Circle, and, more than 80 years ago, in ritzy Georgetown itself. It`s happening right now, in LeDroit Park and Bloomingdale and Columbia Heights and a host of other neighborhoods across the District where developers are moving in, businesses are springing up and property values are rising.

But these ``emerging`` neighborhoods -- on the cusp of D.C.`s gentrification movement -- are also bearing the brunt of increased property crime rates.

According to data from the Metropolitan Police Department, property crime has spiked in several ``emerging`` neighborhoods in the past year to date. LeDroit Park, which has seen the high-profile opening of the Howard Theater and a slew of new restaurants and businesses this year, has seen property crimes rise by 33 percent between July 2011 and July 2012 -- even as violent crimes have gone down by 4 percent. Its neighbor to the north, Bloomingdale, has seen property crimes go up 21 percent, with a 43 percent increase in both thefts and thefts from cars.

By the numbers


Property crimes
21% increase
Violent crimes
6% increase
Columbia Heights

Property crimes
26% increase
Violent crimes
25% increase
LeDroit Park

Property crimes
33% increase
Violent crimes
4% decrease
Source: D.C. police

Source: D.C. police

Crime isn`t far off from emerging neighborhoods that have seen decreases in the past year, either -- property crime rates went down 4 percent in the still-developing H Street NE corridor, but property crimes rose 14 percent just a few blocks over.

Representatives from D.C. police were unable to comment by press time Monday.

Gentrification has long been a touchy subject in D.C., and as wealthy residents move into struggling neighborhoods, experts say tensions are bound to arise.

``Gentrification creates a new opportunity for individuals to be victims and perpetrators of crime,`` said Antwan Jones, an assistant sociology professor at George Washington University. ``You have a toxic mix of people trying to desperately hold onto their homes in the same context where individuals are increasing their socioeconomic standing. Homicide will go down in those neighborhoods because there will be an increase of police presence, but property crimes will go up because people ... have the opportunity generally to commit crimes.``

Jones said that criminals in ``gentrifying`` neighborhoods -- where development is typically geared toward rehabbing houses -- tend to target individuals` property, while crime in ``revitalizing`` neighborhoods -- where development is business-driven and community-oriented -- typically affects businesses.

Residents of LeDroit and Bloomingdale -- who say their neighborhoods have seen crimes like muggings, bike thefts and thefts from cars recently -- say they`re doing their best to combat crime rates in the area, working with police and urging residents to stay safe at night.

``Sometimes, because you`re not hearing about murders, rapes, major assaults, people feel really comfortable and they`re not paying attention as much,`` said Teri Janine Quinn, president of Bloomingdale`s civic association. ``While certainly we don`t want more violent crime, one of the things that happens when those numbers go down is that people let their guards down.``

Marc Morgan, president of LeDroit`s civic association, said his group focuses on connecting residents -- both new and old -- in the neighborhood to combat crime. The civic association has built a community park, begun a neighborhood watch and offered a series of forums to help longtime residents and newcomers get along.

``It`s still a lingering issue -- there`s no quick fix to this. The only way is engagement with the community and creating a sense of pride in the neighborhood,`` he said.


Bloomingdale Resident said...

Last night, for the third time in the last six months that I have noticed, there was a robbery near the intersection of 2nd and RIAve. Last night's was an armed robbery at 9:30 -not late on a summer evening. Do 5D and 1D coordinate statistics at that border to see crime spikes?

Adam said...

perhaps the safety walks in the neighborhood should be more than monthly? best way to combat this type of crime is have people out walking around that aren't going to put up with this.