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Posted at 12:03 PM ET, 10/10/2008

Adams Morgan Crime on the Rise

By Fritz Hahn

Shootings and muggings have plagued Adams Morgan in the last 30 days. (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

Just last week, in the wake of two shootings in heavily trafficked nightlife areas -- in Adams Morgan and at 14th and T Streets -- we were asking how safe you felt when you went out. Then, around 1 a.m. on Sunday morning in Adams Morgan, an unknown person fired six shots in the alley between the Suntrust bank and Julia's Empanadas, near the corner of 18th Street and Columbia Road, with one of the bullets flying across 18th Street and striking a light fixture on the porch outside Madams Organ. Although the gunplay happened right next to a police substation, the shooter got away.

As a result, you'll see more police on the streets in Adams Morgan this weekend, including the city's elite Crime Suppression Unit. But according to Brian Weaver, the head of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission, these two shootings are just the tip of the iceberg of rising crime in Adams Morgan: There have been 30 violent crimes in the last 30 days, primarily muggings and armed robberies, along with 14 confirmed incidents of shots being fired. "I view this as a scary jump," he says. "[Residents of Adams Morgan] tolerate drunk people fighting in the pizza line," Weaver says. "This is a little bit different."

(As a comparison, in August, there were 11 muggings and two assaults with a deadly weapon, which can be anything from hitting someone with a beer bottle to a shooting.)

The rise in shootings looks troubling. Weaver says police have determined that almost all are part of a long-simmering feud between rival teenage gangs, and the majority of those shootings are not happening on Adams Morgan's busiest streets. What's more worrying for visitors is that huge spike in muggings.

These robberies aren't happening on the 18th Street strip or Columbia Road, either, says Weaver; instead, the muggers and thieves are hiding out on deserted sidestreets like "Lanier Place or Champlain Street, waiting for people to come back to their car."

So while there will be more cops on the streets, consider this your public service announcement for the weekend: Park in the garage, take a taxi, grab the Adams Morgan-U Street Link bus to and from the Metro and just be extra vigilant. That way, there's less chance you'll turn out to be a statistic.

-- Fritz

By Fritz Hahn  | October 10, 2008; 12:03 PM ET
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We saw a cop on a bike writing parking tickets around 11pm on a weekend recently, when he should have been patrolling for would-be muggers. This was around Lanier Place and Adams Mill Road, exactly where these muggings tend to happen. Go figure. It wasn't the first time, nor was it likely the last. It appears the cops are more interested in generating revenue than keeping the neighborhood safe when they know it's been a serious issue on weekends.

Posted by: Adams Morgan resident | October 10, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

just keep the crime away from 930 and the black cat.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 10, 2008 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Easy solution: Get rid of the people loitering around on the streets!!!!!

All they do is sit there and harass everyone passing by so people get pissed, not as many people go to the bars, and, in turn, they make less money. This results in fewer upgrades, less renovations and decreased new business. Therefore, lower clientelle come to the area and crime increases.

Posted by: Joe Boo | October 10, 2008 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Adams Morgan is so disgusting its a wonder anyone goes there. The traffic is horrible, the people are sleazy, and there TONS of fights, shootings, and robberies. I used to live there and can say from experience that the city sweeps so much crime under under the carpet. People have been shot in the middle of the day, grand theft auto is a regular occurence, and EVERYONE knows of someone who got held up at gunpoint one time or another. The neighborhood has a distinct smell as well. There are way too many better areas for people to go. Adams Morgan was a great "up and coming" project but frankly; it failed. U street seems to be doing better.

Posted by: Lily P | October 11, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

I absolutely agree with Lily's posting above. I was walking down 18th Street last Saturday and was about 1 1/2 blocks away when we heard the gunshots. On any given night there are numerous fights. The problem is that there are far too many highly intoxicated people within a confined area. It is what economists term a 'tragedy of the commons'-- a overuse of a public good to the point where everyone suffers. If the District is serious about curtailing crime in Adams Morgan, at the very least it would impose a moratorium on liquor licenses. I read somewhere this week that nearly 90 establishments have liquor licenses in Adams Morgan. Other areas (U Street, Georgetown, Du Pont) have vibrant nightlife without the violence of Adams Morgan because they don't have the excessive concentration of bars that Adams Morgan has. At the very least of moratorium and hopefully the District gets serious about revoking liquor licenses of establishments that violate various regulations.

Posted by: Ben | October 12, 2008 1:10 AM | Report abuse

I live in Adams Morgan, and it is an amazing place to live. There is more to A/M than just 18th and Columbia on the weekends. The peple that actually live here tolerate the weekends because the weekdays make up for it and some. The crime situation is frightening as some of us are walking HOME (not to our cars) on those same streets the muggings are happening. The police do patrol... But they need to do a better job of engadging potential criminals. They also need to break up the gangs that are clearly hanging out on 18th street on Friday and Saturday nights. It doesn't take a badge to figure them out.

Posted by: mitchell | October 12, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Adams Morgan is a great place for drunken people under 23 years of age, & for thugs, punks, punks who think they're gangsters, & muggers. Anyone else would be well advised to stay away as far as possible.

Posted by: Freddie Mick | October 12, 2008 11:12 PM | Report abuse

That's funny, New York's Greenwich Village is comparable to Adams Morgan - but there is no crime. DC simply attracts more of the criminal elements than any other city.

Posted by: Jobo | October 14, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Soooo glad I don't live in Adams Morgan anymore

Posted by: aat | October 16, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Greenwich Village is not at ALL comparable to AM, that's absurd.

Posted by: jealous | October 16, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

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