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Everyone Fears Robberies: Where and How They Occur in Borderstan

by Borderstan.com December 1, 2011 at 10:45 am 1,269 5 Comments

"Borderstan", DC crime

It happens around Borderstan: 36% of all robberies in the Dupont-Logan-U Street area involve a snatch. (Photo staged by Luis Gomez Photos)

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

Urban residents are often quite concerned about becoming the victim of a robbery, and understandably so. Robberies can be traumatic and dangerous experiences, not to mention the loss of personal property that can occur. What can DC crime data tell us about robberies in Borderstan so far this year – which streets and blocks had the most robberies? How many involved a gun? And what method was used?

Dupont-Logan-U Street area: 36% of all robberies involve a snatch, e.g., a robber grabs a purse or cell phone… 14% involve a gun, and 3% involve a knife… 29% involve force and violence, but not a weapon.

In total, 196 street blocks or intersections have had at least one robbery in 2011, but just 67 of these 196 blocks/intersections had more than one robbery. From January 1 to November 15, 2011, there were 308 robberies in Borderstan. Almost one-half of these (146) occurred in Police Service Area (PSA) 305, which includes the U Street area. The rest were about evenly split between PSA 307 (88), which covers the Logan Circle area; and PSA 208 (74), which covers Dupont-Kalorama. (It’s important to remember that PSAs are not equal in population or geographic area.)

U Street Corridor Cluster

Many of the streets with the highest number of robberies are clustered in the U Street corridor:

  • The 1300 block of U Street NW had nine robberies to lead all streets. The 1300 block of U Street NW is also the “hottest” block in Borderstan in 2011 and has the highest proportion of violent crime among the highest crime streets; see Violent vs. Property Crime on Borderstan’s “Hot” Blocks.
  • The 1000 and 1200 blocks of U Street both had five robberies apiece.
  • The 900 block of U Street and the intersection of 14th and U Streets NW each had four robberies.

The table below examines the method used in these 308 robberies. About 14% of robberies involved a gun — about 16% when including carjacking incidents, 6 of which involved a gun. While any gun robbery is a harrowing experience for the victim, gun robbery is not the most common type in Borderstan.

Robberies using some type of force or violence (but not a weapon) made up about 29% of all robberies and snatch cases involving a purse or other items (e.g., cell phones) being taken made up close to 36% of robbery cases.

 Robberies in Dupont-Logan-U Street




Force and violence



Pocketbook snatch









Assault with intent


















Other Armed










When are these robberies occurring? The DC police data do not include the time of day for incidents (although a cursory review of DC Police Alerts suggests that robbery is a nighttime phenomenon), but the month and day are available.

The table below presents the number of robberies in Borderstan by month. The results partially confirm conventional knowledge about crime and the weather. When it is warmer outside, there are more people out on the street and that typically means higher rates of crime, particularly predatory crimes like robbery.

As might be expected, January has the lowest number of robberies (11) and June (41) and August (39) are among the highest months in total robberies. The lower number of robberies in July (26) and the higher number in October (44) are more surprising. October had the most robberies of any month so far this year. This cannot be explained just by the weather; October was actually slightly cooler than average (Capital Weather Gang’s October recap: Cooler, wetter, snowier than normal).























November (first 15 days)




Robbery a Rare Event

Overall, robbery in Borderstan is not a rare event, but fortunately, it is also not particularly common (especially gun robbery). As with prior analyses of crime in Borderstan, it is important to keep in mind that these data are all drawn from police incidents, which are always subject to later changes and reclassification.

  • JMP

    I used to live in Borderstan and my group house was burglarized one November night — while I was home alone. Even though things were stolen from my roommates’ rooms, nothing happened to me luckily. The robber got scared off–but not until he started opening my bedroom door and realized someone (me) was in the room (that was fun). Lesson: always keep lights on in your home. Most of my house was dark and I think that’s what attracted the burglar in the first place.

    No matter what the stats show, anecdotally speaking, most of my friends have been victims of crime at some point. My boyfriend has been robbed at ATMs twice. My best friend’s group house and another friend’s apartments were both robbed during workdays. A former roommate was mugged, as was another one of my friends (both in Borderstan). And another good friend’s Vespa was stolen even though it was chained up.

    I don’t believe this city is safe. Sorry.

    • JMP

      Not that you can avoid crime, but here’s what I’ve learned:

      1) Don’t talk on your cell phone while walking around the city, especially at night.

      2) Keep lights on in your home.

      3) Get renter’s insurance. One year is like $120 at State Farm (and I think you can also pay per month).

      4) If you have a bike, it will probably get stolen at some point no matter what you do.

      5) Time and again, old women have come up to me and reminded me to always keep my purse securely at my side with strap on my shoulder. Don’t grasp it by the handle or dangle it off your arm. It’s easier to snatch away I guess.

      6) If you think anything is amiss in your home, call 911 IMMEDIATELY. Don’t pause to think about it.

  • Neighbor

    Thanks for the stats, but, no offense: STATS. CHARTS. COLUMNS. FIGURES. — YAWN.
    Can we hear from our local police force on this? Or some of the people this crime has happened to? After all, cops and neighbors are the ones experiencing these numbers. It might be interesting to hear their view, no? In general, couldn’t we initiate a conversation with our local precinct on what’s happening on our streets? Tell them what we see — hear what they see… that kinda thing?

    • Cody

      Thanks for the feedback. I agree that it’s good to get the perspective of police and residents- I’ll be at the PSA 305 meeting on Tuesday and will be doing a story later this week. I’m an academic, so I’m always biased towards looking at the statistics to get a sense of crime overall, but I’ll try to not make it too boring!

  • Logan Mom

    If it’s a discussion with officers on the beat that you want, check in with your ANC. If you are in ANC2F, the police community meeting you describe takes pace every single month in tandem with the ANC meeting. There is also a Puiblic Safety Committee. If you’re not into evening meetings, it gets harder but not impossible. You could get in touch by email. I have heard officers brief down to the detail level of HOW thieves are getting into specific apartment buildings. Logan circle Community Association had a meeting a few months ago with a Neighborhood Watch advocate from Chevy Chase (you’d be surprised what goes on there!)

    What’s a “yawn” is a series of victim impact statements. I’d rather focus in prevention. I’m guessing being victimized is pretty uniformly a downer and an overall bad experience. Not sure what else needs to be said before we move on to focusing on prevention and enforcement. Well. I know it sucked scissors when my husband and I were mugged at gunpoint a few years ago during a light snow storm in April near 14th and Corcoran (now, thanks to the statistics, I can really appreiate just how RARE that occurence was!). I did not enjoy having a gun to my head, watching my husband stand by powereless, and having the young thieves saunter off with our property. Did I mention I was pregnant at the time?


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