The Answers Issue: Why is there no mafia in D.C.?

Why is there no mafia in D.C.?

Thanks for the question. And thanks for turning to Washington City Paper instead of Google for your answer. Had you used the world’s most popular search engine, the first response would have been the thoroughly researched article, “Why Hasn’t the Mafia Ever Made Inroads in D.C.?” by The New Republic’s Bradford Plumer. Short answer: D.C. never attracted a sizable Italian population. No Italians = no mafia. Although don’t forget about Sal Cottone, a mafioso who had a reasonable level of local criminal success until the feds arrested him in 1990.

Our Readers Say

There was a sort of organized crime connection in D.C. Look for an old Washingtonian magazine from the 1970's ( sorry for the vagueness ) with an article about Joe Nesline.

Organized crime in the past was far from being an Italian-only thing. Google "Meyer Lansky" and "Dutch Schultz" for starters.
Why no mafia in DC??? Because we have Congress!! Isn't that enough for DC??!!
Holy Rosary Church is at 3rd & F Streets NW, along with Casa Italiana Italian Cultural Center. I haven't found any documentation, but my dad (Italian/American) said that when he first moved to DC in 1955, the area from the church north to New York Ave and a few blocks west toward what is now Chinatown, used to be a "Little Italy". It may never have been formalized as Little Italy, but it had a solid Italian population.

As the area around it deteriorated, the Italians moved the the 'burbs and Baltimore, but Holy Rosary still has Italian Mass every Sunday at 10:30 and serves some of the most mediocre cappuccino in DC.

Another theory on why the Mafia hasn't taken hold in DC... they buy the politicians at home, before sending them here.
We have Congress, the DC City Council, and government contractors... That sounds like plenty of organized crime to me

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