Is Mount Pleasant a high crime area? Is Columbia Heights a high crime area? It all depends on your point of reference.  If you're comparing this area to the high-income neighborhoods west of Rock Creek Park, then sure, these are both high crime areas. If you're comparing Mount Pleasant or Columbia Heights to other inner-city, east-of-the-Park neighborhoods, then the answer for Mount Pleasant is "no, it's not", for Columbia Heights, "yes, it is".

Let's look at robbery rates -- robbery (that is, someone confronting you personally and demanding your property, usually with the threat of violence) being the violent crime that most seriously threatens not only the property, but the lives, of residents. Homicides and assaults are relatively rare, and the majority of both involve persons known to each other. Robbery is the crime of violence that most frequently targets innocent people on the street, minding their own business, attacked by a stranger.

This chart shows the average rate of reported robberies -- that is, the number of robberies per 1000 population, per month, averaged over the 12 months from April 2005 through March 2006.

* The third police district (ours) has the highest robbery rate in the city. The first district is close, but that number is distorted by the huge number of people who work downtown but do not reside there (so the number of potential targets is high, but the population is not). 

* The second police district has an extremely low robbery rate. People who move to Mount Pleasant or Columbia Heights from 2D, west of Rock Creek Park, will no doubt be dismayed by the crime rates in this area. Rock Creek Park serves as a strong barrier between them and the people from the poor neighborhoods who do robberies.
robbery rate bar chart

* PSA 301 (Mount Pleasant) has a robbery rate that is lower than the District average. Compared to west of Rock Creek Park, yes, the robbery rate is high. Compared to almost anywhere east of Rock Creek Park, it's not.

* PSA 302 (Columbia Heights) has a very high robbery rate, over twice that of PSA 301 (Mount Pleasant). The contrast, as one crosses 16th Street from Columbia Heights into Mount Pleasant, is striking. The police will tell you that all the action is east of 16th Street, and much of the crime that does occur in Mount Pleasant is done by people from east of 16th Street. It's all about where the poverty is, and Columbia Heights has far more poverty than Mount Pleasant.

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How about other 3D PSAs?

Police Districts and PSAs

Robberies in Mount Pleasant
This page last updated February 18, 2008