Via Steve. The Washington Post reports that the hottest nabes in DC are not safe -- they attract robbers from other neighborhoods in search of quick cash, credit cards, and cell phones, resulting in a per capita robbery rate higher than that of New York or LA! A significant minority are juveniles, and presumably most of the rest are 25 or under. No official word on the percentage of beleaguered father figures compelled to steal to feed their starving families. You can imagine what percentage are buying garish rims for their cars, tacky jewelery, and liquor / drugs. At least the districts where tout le monde goes clubbing are not also the homicide capitals, which are unsurprisingly in the Southeast quadrant. So, I'd like to ammend my description of the Adams Morgan-ish area of DC as "safe, urban, semi-cool" to "not safe, urban, semi-cool." Apparently the rise in robberies there is recent, like within the past few years, which is the last time I used to go there semi-regularly to see movies unavailable in the suburbs. But now downtown Bethesda in suburban Maryland has several art house theaters, and though I don't identify with the local residents, at least they're not the nauseatingly pretentious yuppie type you find in Dupont Circle. But there is a silver lining to be found in the cloud of the news story: at least the robbery rate isn't what it was during the crack wars of the 1980s and early '90s. Yeah, and the Black Death didn't wipe out as many English during the 1665 outbreak as during the 14th century conflagration.
I've previously noted that I don't have much empathy for people who get into a mess they could have easily foreseen but chose to take a risk nonetheless. Maybe this is the new honest signal of one's status -- "Hey look how rich and powerful I am, that I can dwell in and waltz around this mugging capital without getting held up!" Well, maybe, but that only works if you really are sufficiently badass that robbers fear you. Unfortunately, DC attracts those yuppies who failed to make it elsewhere -- the East Coast centers for Big Law, Big Biz, and Big Whatever Else are New York, Boston, maybe Philly in distant third, with DC status-seekers comprising the dregs. Not frightening badasses, in other words. Of course the stupid, aggressive, lazy scum who commit these crimes are to blame, but still, don't cry when you play with fire and get burned.