City Desk

Is Adams Morgan Getting Tougher?

Since some employees got jumped by guys in a red Camaro, and his business was burglarized, and there was a nearby stabbing, City Bikes owner Charlie McCormick has been trying to get the word out: his longtime neighborhood is getting ugly. In an email to Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham, he expressed a concern that "gangs and thugs seem to be taking over the streets of Adams Morgan."

Addressing McCormick's woes after Graham reached out to D.C. police, Captain Aubrey P. Mongal wrote back that there were certainly some bad elements seeping into the neighborhood.

"The predators appear to be identifying individuals or couples that have left the main 18th street area and [are] walking in areas not known as high traffic areas." McCormick tells City Desk the crime spike is changing the character of Adams Morgan. "It's losing its friendliness," he says.

There's evidence he's right. Police Chief Cathy Lanier recently said the 3rd police district, where Adams Morgan is located, "has the highest volume of crime in the city, and the third highest volume of calls for service." That's one of the reasons why, as part of citywide police district realignments, the Metropolitan Police Department will be changing its boundaries so that a neighboring police district takes on Mt. Pleasant, helping shoulder the problem.

In Adams Morgan itself, so far this year when compared to statistics from last year, total crime is up 13 percent, according to the MPD crime map. That increase might or might not qualify as a spike. We're dealing with small numbers here, so even a slight change amounts to a dramatic difference in the percentage.

There's been an 8 percent increase in violent crime, but that just means there were 64 instances of violent crime in 2010 as compared to 69 in 2011. Cars in the neighborhood have definitely seen better days. 97 cars were broken into in 2010, and 127 in 2011, a 31 percent increase. There's been no change in the number of armed robberies. But in the same period in 2009, total  crime was down 9 percent.

It's well known that Adams Morgan goes through a crime wave every once in awhile. It usually passes with increased police patrols. In that case, trimming down the police district that responds to the area is a good idea, as it should free up some manpower and just might bring back the the neighborhood McCormick remembers.

Photo by Matt Dunn

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