There has been an average of 160,000 troops in the Iraq theatre of operations in the last 22 months, with a total of 2,112 deaths.
This gives a death rate ratio of 60 deaths per 100,000 soldiers.
The firearm death rate in Washington D.C. for the same period was 80.6 per 100,000.
It therefore follows that you are approximately 25% more likely to be shot and killed in the U.S. Capitol than in Iraq, even though Washington D.C. has the strictest gun control laws in the nation .
DC used to be known as the muder capital of the Nation. I forget what city earned that distinction this year, it always changes. But anyway, just be careful. There are always specials on TV about DC crime and violence, but if you stick to the main attraction areas, you will be okay. Just be smart about it. I would avoid SE DC at night as a general rule, guidebooks will tell you not to take the Metro to Anacostia at night.
Washington is a relatively safe city for people. There's always a heavy police presence around the city center and the city's government landmarks. Sadly, the nation's capital has a horrific crime rate and one of the nation's highest per population (amazing for a city of some 600,000; much smaller than America's other larger cities). However, crime rarely targets tourists, and remains largely outside in the city's eastern fringes. The eastern areas of Washington are rough and bleak, and should be avoided at night. Washington's present mayor Anthony W. Williams is trying hard to curb this, and has met with some success.
Also be aware of pick pocketers--common in every city in the world--who might try and prey on tourists on the Metro or around busy streets.
If you have any unlikely problems, contact the United States Park Police: the law-enforcement branch of the National Park Service, as well as one of the oldest contemporary police forces in the world (founded in 1791). The US Park Police operates usually around the city's many parks and government buildings, and are very helpful whether it be for a lost purse or for directions.
For other matters that are outside the USPP's jursidiction, contact the Metropolitan Police Department if you have any other needs.
If you have any other emergencies, please contact 911.
There are a few bad area's in Washington DC that you should really not walk around at night when you are not sure where you are going. Generally the city is very safe and you should not have to worry. You can take the metro late at night (it runs till 2:00am I think) and be perfectly safe (although single women should always be careful and not too drunk).
So if you are going to Nation (South East), or Dream (RT-50 East), 9:30 club (North East), RFK Stadium (South East), or a number of other clubs that are off the beaten track, I would recomend making sure you know how to get there by Metro / car or maybe you should take a cab.
I always drive to these places and find parking nearby and I have never had a problem (I am also a 6'2" 220 lb guy and I have felt a bit uncomfortable / worried when I was with a girlfriend in some bad areas), some (9:30 Club & RFK Stadium) have metro's close by or shuttle service (Dream).
All in all I would just recomend that you know where you are going and get good directions or call a cab. It costs less than $15 to go just about anywhere in DC (they price by the zone so sometimes a 5 minute ride can cost $9).
I don't want to overly worry people. DC is very safe and there are many transitional areas that have great places to go out if you are just a little carefull.
As in, use common sense. Many people still think of Washington, DC as a crime-ridden murder capital. As a tourist you will find the popular attractions to be safe and free of violent crime. There are some dodgy areas, particularly in the SE and NE quadrants of the city. Be aware of your surroundings--the less-safe areas tend to look the part and you should be able to sense when you are veering out of "safe" territory. Do note that neighborhoods can change very quickly, particularly around the Capitol. Additionally, much of the sensationalist stories of violence you see on the news involve drug deals and other sordid behavior, not visitors.
I am a social work student from Newport News, VA and went to a Policy confrence in Washington. Me and BF went togeather. The conference was at the Mayflower on Conneticut Ave. I could not afford this so I chose the Super 8 on New York Ave. (haha) Well, I am from the booneys where all you see is corn fields and walmarts.
Do not drive to Washington DC unless you are staying downtown near everything important. Driving is horrible. Remeber that 17th street is Conneticut Ave. It took me an hour to go 2.6 miles.
The area where my hotel was located was not very nice but it was cheap. The homeless were everwhere. I was uncomfortable at first but I got used to the area. It is not wise to travel NE on New York AVe. When I got lost I found that L Street was a safe bet and got me out of the mess I was in.
Parking is very expensive. The national Mall area is very congested with tourists and traffic so beware.
The social worker in me kicked in as soon as I made my way to any stores. I tryed to have patience with the mess I got myself in.
They do not sell beer at any of the convient stores, the liquor store only sells beer.
I learned from this trip that I am a country girl and I want it to stay that way!
It was 5:45 p.m., sunny and ninety-six degrees, yesterday, and I was walking from my office tower to the Metro station at Mt. Vernon Square/Convention Center, on the corner of 7th and M Streets.
I was walking on the sidewalk and fifty feet from the escalator entrance to the subway station, when I heard some loud noise. The noise was not a truck or construction (of which there are a lot in the area.) I looked up and saw a young black man wearing thug clothes and standing in the middle of M Street about five feet west of M Street's intersection with 7th Street, and raise his handgun and fire several more shots down M Street, in the direction away from the subway station, and then he ran in the direction of where he was shooting.
I didn't grab my phone quickly enough to get a photo.
I've been working in Washington, D.C. for several years, and this gun battle was the first gun battle that I'd ever seen in my life.
Washington, D.C., has a long and varied history. VTer's may want to stay aware of current criminal activity while walking the public sidewalks.
Be very very careful and alert when walking around DC. There are plenty of drugaddicts prowling around suspiciously even in broad daylight. Me and my kids were taking a stroll in a street somewhere near Chinatown. It was 10.30 am in the morning but unfortunately there was nobody in that particular street at that time. Suddenly this man appeared from behind the cars and started calling out to us. We increased our pace and started walking faster but this guy started running after us and abusing us. We were really frightened and ran as fast as we could till we reached the end of the street where it was pretty crowded. We were lucky that we had a good lead and were almost close to the end of the street which had Hotel Renaisance at the corner. But the experience sure had us very scared because he looked very dangerous. Once you are in a crowded place they cant do anything. But they can be very dangerous if they catch you alone. Also one has to be very careful about venturing out after 8 pm because most of the streets get very deserted then and there are very few pedestrians on the road except for these antisocial characters. They keep eyeing tourists suspiciously all the time. We were lucky that our hotel (Harrington) was centrally located and had a constant stream of people coming to the restaurant till late at night.
Well, DC is hood, no arguement there. But is it also a great place to visit with a lot of things to do. I mean, don't venture into the Southeast section, among others. But if you're on the main drag, around the night clubs, restauraunts, entertainment, you'll be fine. The capitol district is also very great for visiting. Just use your head, don't think you can venture into inner city DC and not get in trouble. But don't let that stop you.. DC is home to some of the best monuments and entertainment out there.
As we were driving to our hotel, while we were just outside the heart of the city, it looked like there were a lot of groups hanging out on the corners, and there were always police cars everywhere. I'm just saying if your walking around there, be with someone, and I wouldn't get a hotel outside of the main part of the Washington D.C.
My Saturday evening, if I am at my home, generally consists of several people with out-of-state plates asking me how to get to the H Street Corridor. They look really surprised when I tell them they may want to reconsider their plans. I also see plenty of people walking around looking a little sketched out in my neighborhood (which, by the way, is the next safest place in DC to the War Room...no joke, the permanent Cap. Police patrol can see the whole street and several Congresspeople live nearby). Tourists: buy a travel guide before you come to DC.
DC offers some great nightlife and cultural activities. Most of the culture can be had on the Mall, with little to no risk of getting lost or ending up in the wrong neighborhood. Most of the nightlife is a little harder to find and may be on the other side of/border a not-so-great neighborhood. Sure, you can stick to downtown and pay way too much for mediocre food and junky American beer at the ever-tasteful Hard Rock Cafe, if that's your speed. But if you actually want to do something fun, then you're going to have to leave Downtown.
Leaving downtown is not a problem, really. Most of the areas you would ever want to go to are accessible by subway, and the transit system is very safe. Even if you have to cross a bad neighborhood to get where you're going, if you do it on Metro, you're fine. Taking a cab is also an option, but DC cabbies are excellent rip-off artists. Give them the slightest hint you don't know the city, and they'll take you on one heck of an expensive ride. Some of the best areas for nightlife are Capitol Hill/Eastern Market, certain Adam's Morgan establishments, DuPont Circle, and Georgetown. Georgetown is not directly accessible by subway, but it is by bus, and walking from the nearest subway stop is safe.
Buy a travel guide and also check out the link to DC's Metro system homepage below. The trip planner actually includes walking directions from your starting point and to your destination from the nearest stops (you have to click to get this, either on "more information" or "walk," I can't remember but it's easy to tell as where you click is hyperlinked). Also, remember that DC is divided into quadrants, and you must know whether your destination is in NE, NW, SE, or SW in order to get there. Don't guess!!!
When visiting DC, bring a map. Downtown is small, and it's easy to get lost and venture into a bad neighborhood. The rule of thumb is to find the Washington monument or the White house, everything else is located around these buildings.Picture © Keith Stanley
Look, no B.S., DC is a city. And American cities tend to have crime. Just be logical. The worst thing you can do around here is show fear. Act like you belong and you know where you're going. Keep money secure and valuables always within your view. Lots of vagrants with sad stories, but be careful and use your discretion when deciding whether or not to help them out monetarily. Walking the streets, even at night, is fairly safe in most neighborhoods. Avoid the Southeast if at all humanly possible. Northwest (where I live ;) ) is the best neighborhood without a doubt. Don't stray and listen to your instincts!
Well, during day D.C. is fine, particularly in the 'tourist' areas, which is pretty much all the government areas of the city. However, outside that, I've heard it's pretty bad and crime is high, so I'd be careful.
Right now Georgetown is on fire (June 2001). The whole place isn't burning, just M street, which is the main route through this part of town. Every now and then (read: about 3 times a week) random flames will spout out of a manhole and cause general chaos. It shouldn't hurt your trip, but it could be a bit dangerous. So, be careful.