Crime in Borderstan: Do You Live on a “Hot” Street Block?

by Borderstan.com November 10, 2011 at 9:55 am 1,899 2 Comments

"Borderstan""U Street NW"

U Street NW between 13th and 14th Streets. The block is densely populated and draws many visitors and tourists. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Borderstan welcomes a new contributor. A resident of the U Street area, Cody Telep will write about crime and the police. He’s finishing a PhD in criminology at George Mason University. When he’s not working on his dissertation, you can find him eating and drinking all over Borderstan. 

From Cody Telep. Follow him on Twitter @codywt, email him at [email protected]

The geographic distribution of crime isn’t random; typically crime clusters in a small number of places. These high crime places are often referred to as crime “hot spots.” What are the hot spots of the Borderstan neighborhoods so far this year? The Top 10 (well, Top 12 with all the ties) street blocks in terms of number of crime incidents are presented below.

This is not to say that folks should be scared of walking down U Street or going to Whole Foods. Commercial corridors often have more crime incidents, because the large number of people congregating in one place creates many opportunities for criminal activity.

“Hottest” Street Blocks in Borderstan Based on Number of Index Crime Incidents

Rank Street Block (B/O = block of) Number of Incidents % of Total Incidents
1. 1300 B/O U Street NW

42

1.91%

2. 1400 B/O P Street NW

38

1.73%

3. 1600 B/O Connecticut Avenue NW (between Q and R Streets NW)

31

1.41%

T4. 1500 B/O Connecticut Avenue NW (between the circle and Q Street NW)

25

1.14%

T4. 1700 B/O P Street NW

25

1.14%

6. 1200 B/O U Street NW

24

1.09%

7. 1700 B/O T Street NW

23

1.05%

T8. 1300 B/O 14th Street NW

21

0.95%

T8. 1900 B/O 14th Street NW

21

0.95%

T10. 1000 B/O U Street NW

20

0.91%

T10. 1800 B/O 14th Street NW

20

0.91%

T10. 1900 B/O 9th Street NW

20

0.91%

TOTAL:

 

310

14.10%

Three Things Stand Out

Three things about the table stand out. First, crime is highly concentrated in Borderstan. These 12 street blocks contain more than 14% of total crime incidents in Borderstan. Overall, 50% of the incidents are found at 83 street segments.

Second, a small number of blocks in Borderstan are particularly hot, relative to other streets. The 1300 block of U Street NW led the way with 42 incidents so far this year with the 1400 block of P Street NW close behind at 38 incidents. Third, the highest crime street blocks are high activity locations, but are not places that people necessarily think of as high crime.

This is not to say that folks should be scared of walking down U Street or going to Whole Foods. Commercial corridors often have more crime incidents, because the large number of people congregating in one place creates many opportunities for criminal activity. Forty-two incidents over a 10-month period is not a small number, but it also does not suggest that crime on U Street between 13th and 14th Street is rampant. Common sense (e.g., not leaving valuables in a car) can help reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim on these higher crime blocks, or in general.

These data are drawn from index crime incident data for the first 10 months of 2011 (New Year’s Day through Halloween) downloaded from the D.C. Data Catalog for the three Police Service Areas (PSAs) that make up Borderstan: 208, 305 and 307. Index crimes include serious violent and property crimes.

Two-Thirds of Crimes Involve Theft

Thefts and thefts from automobiles make up about 2/3 of the index crimes in Borderstan, but more serious (but fortunately less common) crimes such as rape and homicide are also included. Data from PSA 305 (U Street area), 307 (Logan Circle), and 208 (Dupont) were combined to generate a Borderstan database after removing incidents that occurred outside the Borderstan boundaries.

There have been a total of 2,199 index crime incidents in Borderstan in 2011 (854 in PSA 208, 693 in PSA 305, and 652 in PSA 307). An important disclaimer on these results: police data are never perfect, and so the figures shouldn’t be seen as exact, but they should be a close approximation of crime in Borderstan. Also, it is very important to note that the populations and geographic areas of the three PSAs are not equal in size.

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