Washington DC Crime Rate and Safest Neighborhoods
Our nation’s capital is a bustling hub with 670,000 residents and many more visitors. Are you thinking of calling Washington DC home? If so, you’re probably concerned about safety, and rightly so. With some diligence and a look at Washington DC crime statistics, you can find a safe place to live in DC.
Is Washington DC Safe?
First, let’s look at the city as a whole. Is Washington DC safe compared to the other places in the United States?
The “quick and easy” way to estimate safety is to look at crime trends. It’s not a perfect predictor, but knowing the frequency of certain crimes in DC gives you a rough picture of how safe your family will feel there.
Washington DC Crime Rate
The Metropolitan Police Department recorded about 27,000 criminal offenses in 2022. Given the population, the Washington DC crime rate is approximately 40.3 crimes per 1,000 residents. By comparison, the national average is about 23 per 1,000. It’s also worth noting that crime has risen by about 27% over the course of 2023—not a heartening trend.
However, some crimes are more worrisome than others. A theft incident might be costly and worrisome, but violent crime jeopardizes your safety. Violent crime in Washington DC spiked by 39% within the past year, bringing the District’s violent crime rate up to about double the national average. CBS listed DC as #13 on its list of cities with the highest murder rates.
You’ll also want to keep an eye on your car. The National Insurance Crime Bureau found that the District of Columbia had the second-highest motor vehicle theft rate out of all US states.
Feeling Safe in DC
Crime rates aren’t everything. What if you ask locals: is Washington DC safe? What would they say?
More than 75% of respondents on an AreaVibes poll said that the amount of crime in Washington DC is “poor” or “awful.” About as many said they felt “not very safe” or “not safe at all” walking alone at night.
Respondents on Niche.com were more positive, with 74% saying they felt “pretty safe” or “somewhat safe” in the area. The poll results also revealed that DC has an active and visible police presence—something that’s bound to make you feel a little more secure.
So, is Washington DC safe? It depends on who you ask. And where you are. But the overall DC crime rate is high enough to warrant plenty of due caution.
Safest Neighborhoods in Washington DC
Citywide stats can only tell you so much. With safety as a top priority, your best path to finding the best places to live in Washington DC is to dissect the city neighborhood by neighborhood. According to NeighborhoodScout, here are the 10 Washington DC neighborhoods with the lowest crime rates.
- The Catholic University of America
- Georgetown University
- American University
- Petworth East
- Naval Anacost Annex
- Potomac Heights / The Palisades
- Spring Valley
- McLean Gardens South
- Lanier Heights
- Chevy Chase West
It’s not uncommon for college campuses to have low crime rates, and Washington DC follows suit. Universities provide extra patrols and safety resources beyond what the city can offer. Apart from college areas, you’ll find many of the safest DC neighborhoods in the northwest, near Bethesda.
Most Dangerous Washington DC Neighborhoods
What about dangerous DC neighborhoods? Where in the District will you find the most crime? AreaVibes reveals the most dangerous Washington DC neighborhoods in terms of violent crime.
- Deanwood (20.3 violent crimes per 1,000 residents)
- Brentwood (13.1 per 1,000)
- Anacostia (12.8 per 1,000)
- U Street Corridor (10.9 per 1,000)
- Stadium-Armory (10.6 per 1,000)
- Shaw (10.6 per 1,000)
- South West (8.4 per 1,000)
- Ledroit Park (8.2 per 1,000)
- Petworth (7.0 per 1,000)
- Downtown (6.9 per 1,000)
Most of these neighborhoods exceed the city’s average violent crime rate, and they all exceed the national average. Violent crime includes offenses like assault, robbery, and murder—the ones that pose the greatest threat to your physical safety.
However, it’s important to note that traffic from tourists and even commuters can drastically skew per capita crime data. An area’s crime rate is determined using its population, and many of the people who roam the DC streets each day aren’t residents. Moreover, tourists who are unfamiliar with a location can more easily fall victim to crime.
In any case, if you end up in one of these Washington DC neighborhoods, stay aware of your surroundings and make smart security decisions.
Washington DC Crime Map
So, where are these safe and unsafe areas in DC? Let’s take a look at the bigger picture with this Washington DC crime map.
You can also find a live crime map and plenty of informative charts on the District’s website.
The Best DC Neighborhoods: Other Factors
You’re probably considering more than just your safety when choosing a Washington DC neighborhood. With that in mind, let’s look at some spots you might love for other reasons.
Top-rated public schools (from Niche):
- Barnaby Woods
- Chevy Chase
- Friendship Heights
- American University Park
- Suburbs like Travilah, Potomac, and Cabin John
Highest real estate appreciation (from NeighborhoodScout):
- Pleasant Plains / Howard University
- Gregs Neighborhood North
- Truxton Circle
- Pleasant Plains West
Lowest cost of living (from Niche):
- Fort Davis Park
- Fairfax Village
- River Terrace
- Suburbs like Potomac Heights, Loudoun Valley Estates, and Brock Hall
Most walkable (from Walk Score):
- Dupont Circle
- Mount Vernon Square (Bonus: this area also scores well for public transportation!)
- Logan Circle – Shaw
- Foggy Bottom – GWU – West End
Best for singles (from AreaVibes):
- Glover Park
- Cleveland Park
- Mount Pleasant
- Adams Morgan
- Logan Circle
And, of course, plenty of people who frequent DC live in nearby cities and commute in. The city has robust transportation options for commuters.
Whether you choose your location based on safety or something else, it’s still important to make home security a priority.
Staying Safe in Washington DC
Even if you live in one of the safest neighborhoods in Washington DC, proactive home security is a must. Crime can happen anywhere, and you have to be prepared.
Begin by making your property less enticing to potential intruders. You could try tactics from the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design philosophy. Examples include planting thorny bushes, putting up a fence, and installing floodlights. The basic idea is to make intruders who eye up your property look elsewhere.
Take the time to familiarize yourself with local law enforcement and emergency services. Each of DC’s seven police districts has a community outreach coordinator who can answer your questions and refer you to helpful resources.
The most important step is installing home security cameras with live security monitoring. Deep Sentinel employs professional guards to keep a vigilant eye on your Washington DC property. If there’s any trouble, the guards promptly intervene and contact the police on your behalf.
By choosing a safe neighborhood and exercising sound judgment, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to crime in Washington DC. Deep Sentinel is your dedicated security provider, committed to keeping Washington DC crime far from your doorstep.