[Columbia Heights resident Tazah] Richardson said it is a mistake to think the rejuvenated commercial corridor has done anything to curb shootings and robberies. Many victims erroneously assume that the area is less vulnerable to crime because of the expanded retail presence.
"I saw a woman who just bought something at Best Buy walk down this street, and a guy walked up and snatched it," Richardson said. "Sometimes people seem to forget where they are."
In much of Columbia Heights, violent crime rates have held fairly steady in recent years, said D.C. police Inspector Jacob Kishter, acting commander of the 3rd Police District.
"Some of these gang-related fights have been going on for as long as you and I have been alive," he said.
I was out of town for the weekend, and am still processing all the news about the crash on the Red Line. Obviously it's far too early to comment about anything relating to that. I'm sure we'll see some sort of fingerpointing soon, and I do have to wonder who will be the first to say this is why Metro needs more funding.
On a completely different topic, there was an article in the Post today that shouldn't be overlooked. Looks like the reporters over there have just discovered that Columbia Heights is not safe.
I am sick and tired of hearing people talk about how Columbia Heights has changed so much in the last year, and it's now a destination place to live and shop and all of that. I lived in Columbia Heights (or whatever they are calling things near 14th Street north of Newton) in 2007, and it wasn't any better or worse than it is now. 5 years before that I remember trekking over to visit a friend's brother, and it was about the same. There's been retail development, of course, but that doesn't get at or resolve any of the major problems that still remain. Bottom line: it wasn't safe then and it's not safe now. I harp on this all of the time, but it's the truth.
If I see another person I know talking about how they just got such an "awesome" basement apartment on Fairmont Street, or hear about a condo selling for $400,000 near Girard, I'm going to have to continue to blog about this crap. Columbia Heights hasn't been "fixed" by plopping a Target down. Just like it wasn't fixed when the Giant opened, and it wasn't fixed when the Metro station opened. You can masturbate to your Yelp application on your iPhone while eating at the "Gastropub" or at RedRocks all you want, but that doesn't mean you won't have to dodge bullets on your way home because you bought a house that's in the middle of a disputed gang zone.
In most other cities, you wouldn't be paying $1600/mo to rent a 1BR in a neighborhood like Columbia Heights. Hell, you should be earning some hazard pay for that kind of duty.
It ain't all fun and games, even though it's in "Northwest."
Posted by Dave Stroup at 10:17 PM