Top 10 Unsafe Areas in Washington DC

Unsafe Areas in Washington DC

Though not the most unsafe state in the US, Washington, DC could be the most magnetic of all. 

You can spend the entire day awe-struck at the natural sceneries. Or you may choose the traditional attractions, enjoy the history, and learn trivia afterward! 

While the city was ranked the 7th safest city in the world in 2019 by CNN, we will not pretend that crime in the city is minimal. Crime is not what we can avoid entirely, but we need to be tuned to the areas with the highest concentration. 

You may just save yourself from being a victim.

Top 10 Dangerous Areas in Washington DC 

  1. Columbia Heights: With a population of 34,835, this neighborhood is located northwest of Washington and it is a relatively high crime risk. There are high rates of property crimes, car thefts, and muggings.
    The metro station at 14th street has several buses that are safe to commute with and not worry about petty crimes. Daytime, having people mull about, is alright. Especially around Target/ metro area, it gives a safe vibe. But nighttime is very unsafe. Total crime is 5,211 per 100,000 residents.

  2. Washington Highlands: This neighborhood of about 11,931 residents at Southeast D.C acclaims as one of the largest and poorest in Columbia. From FBI data, this neighborhood was listed 22nd in a “25 most dangerous neighborhoods in the country”. Recent crime numbers show that crimes against people and property occur regularly.
    Washington Highlands has held onto the reputation of being the worst part of the city. Here there are more rapes and murders per capita than just about anywhere else. Especially 4th Street and Atlantic Street SE. What’s tough is the cops are less likely to respond quickly when alerted.
    The likelihood of being a violent crime victim is 1 in 14.


  3. Deanwood: Located in Northeast Washington, D.C., bounded by Eastern Avenue to the northeast, with a population of 29,798.
    In 2011, the Deanwood Metro Station ranked on the list of most dangerous metro stations in DC after 67 violent crimes recorded in the station.
    Total crime is 5,211 per 100,000 residents in Deanwood. Violent crimes bring 600% greater than the national average.
    Meanwhile, petty crimes like pickpocketing are less common. So wad of cash would not mysteriously disappear. And for the peering question, how about the tourists? Is Washington DC safe for tourists? This applies to everyone.

  4. Anacostia: A city of a total number of 117,488 people. It is located east of the Anacostia River. Total crime is 5,243 per 100,000 people.
    In Anacostia, violent crimes are 342% greater than the national average signaling high crime rate. There’s the advice not to stray alone after dark, men, and women incisive. Preferably wear earbud-style headphones if you have to be out through the dodgy alleys.
    The probability of being a crime victim in this neighborhood is 1 in 19 chances.

  5. Stadium-Armory: This neighborhood has a population of 21,142. It is sketchy and not a walkable one. Night walks are accompanied by elevated heartbeats. Taxi/ Uber instead of Metro is safer at night. Here, you have a 1 in 16 chance of being a crime victim.

  6. Brent wood: Having a population of 28,660, this is a neighborhood in District of Columbia County. It’s said to be unsafe walking around this neighborhood at night. Total crime is 5,370 per 100,000 residents. Violent crime is 351% higher than the national average.
    The best Western hotel at Boulevard seems like the tourists’ safest hotel choice. Added with good security.

  7. U Street Corridor: This neighborhood has a population of 10,194. The criminals here fancy property to violent crimes in a ratio of 6:1. You have a 1 in 10 chance of becoming a crime victim.
    Between 13th & 17th Streets, it is safe for walking at night. And generally, daytime strolls can happen on foot, car, or by bus transit. Petty crimes are less frequent if you stay farther from doors.

  8. Capitol Hill: A neighborhood of about 55,592 locals who have a 1 in 15 chance of being a crime victim. 5,211 violent crimes per 100,000 people may not seem rough but it is. Property crime is a concern, but the Hill, the Historic District particularly, is safe.
    Not only are D.C. police all over the streets, but also the capital police. Which is a good score for security. It appears that exploring is now discretionary since security is no issue here.
    But here’s where you wonder about Washington DC safety at night. Although, Washington court hotel seems like no safety hassle. You can walk around even at night.

  9. Catholic University - Brookland: There’s is violence, rape, and bad decisions in the Catholic University. Being one of the most populated neighborhoods in Washington DC, having, 57,481 residents, and crime is bound to happen with that many people.
    The total crime being 5,211 per 100,000 people of which violent crime is 85% higher than the national average.
    This neighborhood is reportedly inherently dangerous. Robbery at gunpoint and rapes around the metro station.
    Caution would be advised if wanting to move around the metro and nearby bike trails and paths. Solo late-night movement for ladies is very unsafe.

  10. Downtown: This city has a population of 8,132. The total crime rate is 52 per 1,000 residents. Downtown crime rates are 87% greater than the national average.
    However, the pros of the city weigh high. Considered the center of the nation’s capital, it is rich with restaurant options, shopping sprees, and famous museums.
    Even public transportation is cheap and safe, without fear of pickpockets. And most neighborhoods are walkable at night.

Current Crime Situation in Washington DC

The safe States also have cities with violent crime rates. From FBI crime statistics, Washington has below average violent crime rate but steep property crime rate.
The property crime rate has been on a downward trend, falling 3.6% between 2018 and 2019. The violent crime rate dropped from 4.1% increase of two previous years to about 2.1% between 2018 and 2019.

Top 10 Worst Neighborhoods and Districts in Unsafe Areas in Washington DC 

Again, how safe is Washington DC? 

  1. Ledroit Park: one of the older neighborhoods in DC, this area has a population of 11,683 inhabitants. Based on FBI crime data, this city is neither one of the safest in Washington DC, nor one of the dangerous. But every once in a while you could hear of some robberies here or there.
    Total crimes fall in 521 per 10,000 residents - not the highest crime rate also. In this city, the likelihood of being a crime victim is 1 in 15.
    Safe to say hotels are quite safe in this area.

  2. Petworth: a very close-in neighborhood voted as DC's champion of the 2016 Curbed Cup, which rated the top 16 neighborhoods in DC. With a population of 11,886 people, it seems unlikely to be a violent crime victim here even though this neighborhood is not a totally safe one. Being a high-density neighborhood so the risk for anyone individual of getting mugged is not that likely.
    There are incidences of street crime occurring - muggings and car break-ins. There are panhandlers around Georgia Avenue and near the Safeway.
    But majorly, property crime takes the high road -auto theft in particular.
    The chance of being the victim of a crime for locals is 1 in 23. Petworth crime rates are reportedly 73% greater than the national average.

  3. Shaw: There’s the slight fear of petty and violent crimes in this neighborhood in north-central Washington DC, just east of Dupont Circle. The total crime being 5,370 per 100,000 residents of which violent crime is 266% higher than the national average.
    This city has its yearly crime rate flat, so wandering at night is not advisable. This goes principally for female solo travelers. Crime in the north is worse than the south. The unsafe areas are stretched around 7th & Ost, 6th & Ost aka Kennedy park. Also Ledroit park, north capitol & Rhode Island ave and Lincoln rd. 7th Street is a real hot spot that runs through the neighborhood.
    The police in this neighborhood are visible but inactive.
    It’s good to note that walking around with large sums of cash is a red flag. And sticking towards populated areas of the city will generally keep you safe.

  4. Takoma Park: This city has a population of 5,302. The total crime rate is 5,211 per 100,000 residents. Takoma Park's crime rates are 117% greater than the national average.
    This neighborhood is said to be safer than 50% of the cities in the District of Columbia. Safe to say hotels are not safe in this area.

  5. Fort Totten-Upper Northeast: A neighborhood in Northeast Washington. The population being 24,123. The total crime rate is 4,168 per 100,000 residents. Fort Totten-Upper Northeast violent crimes are 77% greater than the national average.
    Nighttime gets sketchy so visits in this neighborhood are not recommended. Especially for solo travelers, or women. At daytime also, Fort Totten-Upper has areas difficult to navigate so you should hold onto your map. Generally, this neighborhood is safe to explore, whether by foot, bike, or bus.

  6. DuPont Circle: A city located at 16th Street NW to the east and 22nd Street NW to the west, it is only occupied by 13,733 people. The probability of being a crime victim is 1 in 14 having a crime rate of 52 per 1,000 residents. For the size of the city, this rating is on the high. And from crime analysis, DuPont Circle has its most crime being property crime.
    One thing interesting also about how highly diverse the neighborhood is. It has the very best of rich District history. Dupont Circle hotel has good reviews about its security. Invariably, this means walking or riding at nighttime poses no risk to women or tourists.

  7. Brightwood: Though this neighborhood is known to have safe areas, the dangerous areas supersede, so here we are. Brightwood’s population is approximately 16,318. On a scale of 1 - 100 (low crime - high crime), violent crime falls on 23.3 while property crime is 85.2. Shootings from gangs in Washington state are non-existent, but can’t say the same about theft and other property crimes.
    The area immediately around the Georgia Ave and 16th street are very safe. It gets steep traveling south. Bike rides are not ideal here because of the humping hills, otherwise, it’s safe.

  8. Foggy Bottom: This city has a local reputation for being seedy. Car break-ins are the not so common crimes but it’s good the police in this area respond quickly. Night walks happen, but never safe for women.
    Foggy Bottom’s population is 16,297. The total crime is 5,211 per 100,000 residents. In Foggy Bottom, your chances of being a victim of crime are 1 in 19. Public transit service hasn’t had complainers in recent times and you’ll never feel unsafe walking at night, according to reports.

  9. Mount Vernon Square: a city square is and neighborhood in the Northwest quadrant of DC. The probability of being a crime victim is 1 in 11, having a crime rate of 52 per 1,000 residents. For the size of the city square, this rating is on the high. And from analysis, it has one of the rates highest on vehicle theft in the nation.

  10. Adams Morgan: This city has a population of 17,154. The total crime rate is 5,211 per 100,000 residents. Adams Morgan's crime rates are only 40% greater than the national average.
    On a scale of 1 - 100 (low crime - high crime), violent crime falls on 11.1 while property crime is 93.

Top 5 Washington DC’s Safest Neighborhoods 

  1. Cleveland Park
  2. Berkley
  3. Chevy Chase
  4. Foxhall Village
  5. Glover Park

These are a few of the safest areas in Washington DC


Washington is mostly an urbanized State. And as we know, urban areas have the most crime history in the United States. While DC may not be the poster child for violence and crime, it’s home to some of the most dangerous areas. However, this great city has seen declined crime rates over the years and still is.