Last week we ran a story about Allen Haywood, a Metro rider who was randomly jumped by a couple of kids in the L’Enfant Plaza station last Sunday. A video of the assault wound up on YouTube, where it's been viewed nearly a quarter of a million times. We got quite a few emails from outraged riders, some of whom specifically said they don’t feel safe at L’Enfant Plaza. It got us wondering: How dangerous is that station relative to others?
As it turns out, it’s more dangerous than most, but not as dangerous as many people assume it to be. According to Metro's 2009 crime statistics (the most recent we could find with a station-by-station breakdown), L’Enfant Plaza doesn’t even land on the system’s top ten list of high-crime stations. That, despite the fact that it’s a core transfer station and the seventh-busiest overall in Metro, with more than 22,000 passenger entries per day. Granted, the statistics include auto theft, which gives the Prince George’s County stations with parking lots a slight edge, but L’Enfant is still topped by Metro Center and Gallery Place, which don’t have lots.
L’Enfant Plaza does have a place on the top ten list for D.C. station crime in particular, but it’s in the same ballpark as Metro Center, Rhode Island Ave., Anacostia, and Minnesota Ave. And aside from Metro Center, L’Enfant Plaza has considerably higher ridership numbers than most of those stations. So crime at L’Enfant would be even lower on a per-passenger basis.
In terms of violent assaults, Gallery Place-Chinatown remains king. The station logged six of them from January through November of 2009. The next most assaults on the top ten list was New Carrollton, with three. And Gallery Place had far and away the most crime overall among District stations during that period, with 60 non-vehicle crimes, including theft, robbery, and assault (not to mention the 70-person melee that started there this past August).
So next time you feel unsafe in L’Enfant Plaza, just think about how much worse it is two stops up the Green and Yellow lines.