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March DC Condo Prices by Neighborhood …

Any relation to the discussions of ‘good’ neighborhood/’bad’ neighborhood occurring below in ‘Mugged’?



And, please read Hayakawa (introduced in Sociology 1-2 with Fred Schuman in 1953) on “loaded words”:






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#1 Comment By hwc On December 27, 2008 @ 7:49 pm


The actual mugging statistics tend to be higher in the “nicer” neighborhoods than the “bad” neighborhoods in DC because the “nicer” neighborhoods tend to be where the worthwhile targets are walking around. Even muggers know that it’s kind of stupid to mug poor people.

#2 Comment By hwc On December 27, 2008 @ 8:03 pm

BTW, if ya’ll want to follow a great blog from a gentrifying “bad” neighborhood in Washington, I can’t recommend Prince of Petworth strongly enough.


His blog is an incredible time capsule of a neighborhood going from warzone dangerous to yuppie land in a matter of 18 months. Every restaurant reviewed on his site in Columbia Heights has opened in the last 24 months. His early blog entries include sitting on his own back deck on a summer night and watching a drug murder go down a couple houses away.

#3 Comment By Ronit On December 27, 2008 @ 8:09 pm

I live in a neighborhood that is neither gentrified nor bad – it is a safe, family-oriented lower-middle to middle-class neighborhood with people from lots of different ethnicities (lots of immigrants) living near each other. Very few yuppies. Please use some anecdotal info about how different ‘communities’ behave to judge my value system and social upbringing, oh enlightened educated caucasian people. Frankly, I don’t know how we’d get along without your labels. Thanks.

#4 Comment By Dick Swart On December 27, 2008 @ 9:26 pm


I hope you know I have no knowledge of neighborhoods in DC. In a blog that seems to thrive on data and statistics and their interpretation, I simply post this as data with no idea of the meanings to be tortured from it. I offer no labels of my own.

Hayakawa’s Language in Action has probably been replaced by Noam Chomsky. This is why my interests are art and architecture.

#5 Comment By sophmom On December 27, 2008 @ 9:35 pm


I was just reading the Hayakawa link. It’s interesting as all get-out! I also ‘happened’ upon the part about ‘affective connotations’. I find language, and the different ways in which it can be used, and manipulated, absolutely fascinating.

Is this something that you studied when you were in advertising?

#6 Comment By sophmom On December 27, 2008 @ 9:39 pm

And tell me more about Chomsky while you’re at it. I think I’ve heard Ken drop his name from time to time.

#7 Comment By Ronit On December 27, 2008 @ 9:48 pm

Dick – my comment was not directed at you, but rather at those who posted the extraordinarily condescending crap in the previous thread.

#8 Comment By sophmom On December 27, 2008 @ 9:57 pm

Me, Ronit? Did I stick my foot in my mouth yet again?

Because I was trying to clarify my thoughts on what was so offensive to me about the Mika, Joe, Pat, piece… and to understand Rory’s comments, which have been going around in my head…but God knows I may have muddled it…

#9 Comment By Ken Thomas ’93 On December 27, 2008 @ 10:51 pm

SophMom; Not sure I’ve mentioned Chomsky; Lakoff, perhaps, or J.L. Austin’s “How to Do Things with Worlds” were more along my path; Dick’s use of Hayakawa reminds me of how far afield (astray) the world of ‘contemporary’ ‘critical’ theory has gone.

So skipping a few beats: if we were to simplify ‘philosophical hermeneutics’ a bit (and permit me a few vulgar substitutions), words… are things which make worlds. (Ahem: we could write this wor[l]ds in other formulations). Whenever, however, we use wor(l)ds– “bad neighborhood”– there is always (already) something more than the literal, “mere denotation,” but a projection–

— calling something a “bad neighborhood” (I should find a better example), does something, projects something into the future;

or, to put it differently, words “matter;” they have effects, causal consequences, they tumble, threads of results, into the future;

or, to change the focus of inquiry to one apropos of neighborhoods– lower the overpasses of Chicago (so that public transportation cannot link certain neighborhoods, certain races); by-sect East Oakland or West Nashville from the rest of the city with railroads (do not provide crossings)– etc.– inscribe an ‘intent’ of racial differentiation an separation into physical geography (‘gettoes’, if you will); but don’t forget that the human hells above, the poverty, the violence, are ‘artifacts–‘ the results of planning and human intent–

— and like all things put into place by human action, they can be changed, by the same.

(cf.: ‘nicht aus freien Stueken…’)

#10 Comment By PTC On December 27, 2008 @ 11:43 pm

Ronit- I am sorry for my lousy use of the language and my poor attempt at the flip side. My dad once told me, the flip side seldom works… not that it was really directed at you.

For the record- I did not think it was fair that I was called a racist and a sexist either…. not that you did any of that… you did not… but I am not too worked up about it.

At any rate- I apologize for using crude town and gown crap in my poor attempt at a flippant analogy. I have been pretty desensitized to language over the years… that is my problem, not yours. Ken is right, words matter.

#11 Comment By sophmom On December 27, 2008 @ 11:49 pm

Ken and all,

Just to clarify;

My use of ‘good and bad neighborhoods’ was meant to try and point out just how ludicrous I find those terms. They are impossible to decipher because they are totally subjective. Good, bad, pretty, sexy, nice, smart, tasty, funny, fat, skinny, cool, hip, etc, etc., all these words tell you is that they mean something particular to whoever is using them….which is fine…until the user insists that they mean the same for others.

I agree (you know I do!) that words have causal effects…which is exactly what I believe Rory was trying to point out, and which I tried to point out that Rory was trying to point out, and which you are now also pointing out, and I am once again pointing out…

I really hated that Mika- Joe- Pat clip…but don’t get me started!

Instead, let’s talk about ‘words’ and ‘nuances’, and the difficulty and challenge of communicating well, and the extra complications of doing this on a blog site. (I swear, I am going to try and come up with a post on this subject matter although there are many that would do a better job of it than I!) :-P

#12 Comment By hwc On December 27, 2008 @ 11:57 pm

Words are all well and good; however, words were not what caused many of Washington’s bad neighborhoods to turn bad. In fact, the neighborhoods from U Street north along 14th and Georgia past Howard University were among the most prosperous middle class African American neighborhoods in the country from the end of WWII until April 4th, 1968 when the residents of the neighborhoods, led by Stokely Charmichael, decided to burn their business districts to the ground.

Metaphorically speaking, the ruins of those neighborhoods continued to smolder until eight years ago. During the crack epidemic, the surrounding neighborhood streets, once home to well-maintained African American family row houses, become home to crack dealers and whores. The neighborhood was so dangerous by the late 1980s that gunfire on the streets was a common occurrence.

By the late 1990s, a flood of Latino/a immigrants had started moving into the neighborhoods, bringing business activity for the first time in a quarter century. The opening of subway stations in 1999 anchored investment including the a shopping mall with the largest Target opening in the country last year on a piece of property that had remained vacant since it was burned down in 1968.

If you want to blame somebody, blame Stokley Charmichael.

#13 Comment By Ken Thomas ’93 On December 28, 2008 @ 9:15 am

PTC, SophMom, hwc: I of course do/did not wish to direct my comment re: the power of language towards any of you in specific.

But I might talk about two neighborhoods which came to mind: Berkeley/Oakland around 51st, and the Berkeley Flats above San Pablo around University, from around ’94 until ’00 or so (the time I knew them).

Both are fair to call “bad neighborhoods,” — in the sense that you probably wouldn’t want your sons or daughters living there– but there’s a great deal of nuance in why.

Below 51st (“roughly”) was a sort of cultural barrier, beyond which a Berkeley… well, in general, might not wish to live. At least, at the start of those years, an area marked by blight, clearly racially and socially different– still clearly marked by black separatism– Hillegas, which ran from the center of Oakland to Berkeley, was referred to as “the Ho Chi Mihn trail”– for drugs– a fact I can attest to.

I might mention a few Berkeley students who are now Harvard Law grads who bought and sold crystal methampetamine within 100 feet of the school on 51st, just to complicate the definition of “bad” here… but in any case, this was a “bad” neighborhood.

San Pablo and University, while certainly “the Flats,” were well within Berkeley’s social sphere. Except: well, the most explicit memory that came to mind was that N—- saw two people shot in the face at the Wells Fargo on the corner of San Pablo and University. Oakland may have been “the ghetto,” but the ghetto had community and safety; University was drug houses and dealers and transients, many recently pushed from San Francisco by Mayor Riordan’s tendency to use police batons to wake the homeless…

Of the two areas, I’m not sure I’d recommend either to a Berkeley parent; in fact, I’m not sure where I’d recommend (if it were the 90s)– North Berkeley was so over-gentrified as to totally lack community; SouthSide is packed and expensive, but as close to community as the campus gets; Albany? After all, at least at the time, more than 50% of students lived further away than that…

… and as my flight is boarding…

#14 Comment By rory On December 28, 2008 @ 10:52 am

lol…ptc, no one called you a racist except for when you fake quoted me to try to prove a point. in fact, i was specific that i thought you were not racist for using a term i find to be a dangerous overgeneralization. but feel free to act all victimized if you want. and hwc, you have data for your observation about who does and doesn’t get mugged?

#15 Comment By hwc On December 28, 2008 @ 11:57 am

hwc, you have data for your observation about who does and doesn’t get mugged?

I have data for muggings around various DC subway stations. Its published from time to time in Prince of Petworth discussions as it relates to the occassional mugging near the Georgia/Petworth and Columbia Heights stations. The mugging rates at both of those stations are miniscule compared to the very upscale $$$ Dupont Circle stop.

#16 Comment By rory On December 28, 2008 @ 12:36 pm

dupont is also a nightlife/entertainment stop.

#17 Comment By PTC On December 28, 2008 @ 2:51 pm

Rory- I do not feel victimized. The way in which my language was twisted to imply that I was a racist and a sexist was not fair in my opinion. You did not do that… although you defend it. No big deal.

I think the problem others had with me on the thread had to do more with my position on firearms than it did anything else… and that twisting my words to make them racist and sexist was more of a means of avoiding a real discussion about guns being used for personal defense, especailly by women. Women use guns to defend themselves hundreds of thousands of times a year. My advice to David remains the same.

#18 Comment By Ronit On December 28, 2008 @ 4:35 pm

Women use guns to defend themselves hundreds of thousands of times a year.

I’m honestly curious if you’ve got a source on this. It seems far too high a number to me.

#19 Comment By Another ’05 Eph On December 28, 2008 @ 5:16 pm

In addition to having other, better things to do, it took me awhile to go back through all the comments on the other thread.

PTC, at no point did I call you either racist or sexist. You made several arguments in the other post that were, whether implicitly or explicitly, intentionally or unintentionally, about race and gender (and probably a little bit about class, too).

There have been several other posts by Dick, Ken, Rory, Ronit, and SophMom about language, so no need to rehash those here. Rather than calling you anything, I called your attention to the aspects of your language and arguments that I found to be problematic and troubling to me.

I will unabashedly say that yes, I do have a problem with your position on firearms as the best means of self-defense for women. Further, if we’re defining sexism as discrimination based on gender or attitudes, conditions, or behaviors that promote stereotyping of social roles based on gender, then I don’t have a problem describing the argument that violence toward women is inevitable and thus they are obligated to protect themselves with weapons (because of an inability to do so with words or personal relationships) as sexist. If we’re splitting hairs, it might actually be misogynist, but I’ll save Frank the trouble of having to post about the futility of hair splitting.

Again, PTC, I’m not calling you as a person anything. But twisting critiques of your argument and an intellectual disagreement about violence and firearms is more of a means of avoiding a real discussion about this disagreements.

In addition to racism and sexism, I’d also at this point like to come out against the beating of dead horses, so…Happy New Year to you all.

#20 Comment By PTC On December 28, 2008 @ 6:03 pm


Ronit- There is a pretty honest look at the numbers in this research funded by the DOJ. It is hard to get exact numbers. I low balled it.

#21 Comment By frank uible On December 28, 2008 @ 10:14 pm

Your correspondent grew up in a bad neighborhood, and look how wonderfully he turned out.

#22 Comment By sophmom On December 28, 2008 @ 10:40 pm


To be honest, I just don’t get the logic behind advising women to carry weapons for self defense, especially against street crime.

First of all, a woman would most likely carry a gun in her purse. And muggings (at least the two I have witnessed), involve a quick snatching of the purse, often from behind, and the immediate getaway of the mugger. So, not only would the victim have no time to get to her gun, but she’d be putting (more) weapons into the hands of criminals, to be used against her, and other victims.

I suppose there are instances in which the gun could be used effectively, but it just seems to me that there would be a higher likelihood of negative outcome than positive. And that is without even taking into account all the other possible scenarios involving guns in an easily accessible location; ‘crimes of passion’, children getting hold of it, accidental firings, etc.

A woman’s handbag, especially a mom’s… is no place for a gun.

#23 Comment By Ronit On December 28, 2008 @ 11:31 pm

Fair enough, sophmom, but why go for concealed carry when you can carry it openly in a lovely leather holster designed by Gucci or Vera Wang? If PTC’s guess about women’s usage of guns is anywhere close to accurate, there is a huge market opportunity here. Bonus: most states have no law against open carry.

#24 Comment By sophmom On December 28, 2008 @ 11:46 pm

Well, now, Ronit… that’s a different story altogether. I really hadn’t thought of the potential for a fashion statement, and a lucrative one at that. Uh huh…I could even see a Phillip Treacy angle to this idea.

(Hmmm…methinks I hear Swart’s wheels turning from here.)

#25 Comment By sophmom On December 29, 2008 @ 12:00 am


You wouldn’t be able to run in these, but hey…you wouldn’t need to!

#26 Comment By PTC On December 29, 2008 @ 6:32 am

#27 Comment By rory On December 29, 2008 @ 9:54 am

videos of a lot of things are pretty much endless on youtube.

oh, and the DOJ pdf you linked is clear only about the lack of clarity. it also isn’t broken down by gender, by type of crime, etc.

#28 Comment By sophmom On December 29, 2008 @ 10:56 am


I hate to go on about this, especially during the holidays, but none of your links has to do with a woman pulling a gun out of her purse and defending herself against street crime. I didn’t watch them all the way through, but it appeared they all involved burglaries and convenience stores. I believe there was one of a woman who went back to her car and retrieved a gun after realizing the house she was entering had been broken into.

And for every one of those videos, I’m pretty sure you could find a story of a tragic accidental shooting involving a gun that was too easily accessible.

#29 Comment By PTC On December 29, 2008 @ 3:15 pm


Good deal. I am glad we are finally looking at the numbers.

The raw data is there. How it is manipulated by the DOJ… well… that is up to the scientist. You can look for yourself though… and see if you think this methodology is flawed in the way in which the DOJ claims. The DOJ struggles with these statistics… arguing that gun owners involved in their survey must lie a lot about using their firearms for self defense. Still, the DOJ is forced to acknowledge that similar studies funded by gun rights advocates do not have bogus numbers when it comes to responses to this kind of survey. I suspect that was a surprise to the DOJ.

The DOJ survey sites “actual number of crimes”… which of course… is actually “number of reported crimes” in order to refute their own statistics in this case. It is not broken down by gender, but it is broken down by crime… attempted rape… for example… is pretty gender specific. The raw number in the survey conducted by the DOJ, is over 300,000 cases of “people” using firearms to defend themselves against rape… in one year. The number of actual rapes or attempted rapes, little more than 300,000 annually, according to the DOJ numbers used to refute the numbers in their study. That has to be some kind of a sick joke. We all know, rape is very under reported. There are without a doubt, millions of rapes in this country, every year.

I would suggest the number of gun owners and those that have used guns for self defense are actually much larger, given the propensity of people to have suspicion towards government when it comes to reporting gun ownership and use. Especially during the time of this study, under an administration that was hostile towards private gun ownership. Many gun owners believe it is none of the governments business what firearms law abiding citizens have in their home. Very few states have registration laws… leaving the numbers for gun ownership and use incumbent on the honesty of those surveyed. Even so, about 38% of all American houses have guns in them, according to this DOJ survey.

Also, the statistics on minorities are highly suspect, given the fact that gun laws are stricter and much more harshly enforced in areas where there is a high minority population. Take DC, for example. It is not legal for anyone to have a gun in DC. How many people do you think told someone on the phone they had a gun in their house… in a place like DC? The new law in DC (after the recent SCOTUS ruling) requires registration of hand guns in the home… how many people do you think are going to do that? About what… 10% of all gun owners maybe? I bet the number will be much lower than that. Officially, there will be very, very few gun owners in DC, on paper anyway.

Sophmom- You did’nt get a shotgun for Christmas?

#30 Comment By rory On December 29, 2008 @ 4:04 pm

keep your gun control advocate posters straight, PTC! lol (especially since i once confused you and hwc)

my critique of the numbers from that pdf is the embarrassingly small sample size. I kinda refuse to believe that it is nationally representative (of DGUs) and it frustrates me to NO END when estimates are created up from surveys like that but no confidence interval also created…there were 19 (19!) total people who reported DGUs in that survey that matched a valid criteria. plus, when one of the 19 (or possibly 45) reported using a gun defensively 52 times, the bias that presents is unbelievable. so just as it is “Statistically plausible” that there were about 4.7 million DGUs, it’s also statistically plausible that there were 0 usages (statistically, yes, practically, no.)

and the rape estimates problem seems to me to only be evidence that we’ve got absolutey zero idea how often a gun is used defensively, and the survey you link to leads to an incredibly high (and demonstrably misleading) number of criminals wounded by DGUs.

in short, there are no reliable numbers on this.

#31 Comment By PTC On December 29, 2008 @ 4:38 pm

practiaclly… everyday my friend. Oh yeah of little faith…

Guns are used millions of times… every year.. in defense of home and property. Not a doubt in my mind.