House + Home

published : 2023-09-29

Former DC Resident Flees Crime-Ridden Capital

Why one woman escaped the nation's capital plagued by violence

A photo of Washington, D.C. skyline at sunset, taken with a Nikon D850.

A former Washington, D.C., resident made the decision to leave the city in May 2022.

The city's rampant violent crime, high cost of living, and strict COVID-19 restrictions were the primary factors that led her to flee.

In an interview with FOX News Digital, Lindsay Reusser, who lived in the nation's capital for over a decade, expressed her concerns about safety.

She no longer felt safe walking alone after dark and had to adjust her routines, like grocery shopping early in the morning to avoid potential danger at night.

The exorbitant price of living in D.C. also contributed to her decision.

Paying $1,800 or more per month for a city plagued by crime was not worth it to her.

As the city grappled with a surge in crime, it reached nearly a two-decade high of 226 homicides in 2021.

Although the number of homicides dropped in 2022, it still surpassed 200 murders for the third consecutive year.

The city reached its 200th murder milestone in 2022 earlier than in the previous year.

This upward trend put the city on track to have one of the worst annual body counts since the 1990s.

In addition to the crime surge, Washington, D.C., experienced a significant exodus during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A picture of a woman walking alone in a well-lit street, symbolizing safety, taken with a Canon EOS R.

From April 2020 to July 2022, 26,210 residents left the city, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

While some attributed this exodus to remote work opportunities, Reusser's decision was primarily driven by the escalating crime rate, high living costs, and strict COVID-19 restrictions.

In May 2022, Reusser packed her bags and relocated to Charlotte, N.C., seeking a safer and more affordable living environment.

She described D.C. as a 'very dark place' since the pandemic and believed there weren't enough positive aspects to compensate for the overwhelming negatives.

Reusser voiced her frustration with the lenient laws and lack of repercussions for criminals in the city.

She noticed a decline in prosecution rates, with federal prosecutors in D.C. declining to prosecute 67% of arrests in cases that would typically go to trial in the Superior Court.

This percentage almost doubled since 2015, raising concerns about the effectiveness of the criminal justice system.

Reusser emphasized the need for more aggressive measures to tackle crime in the city.

Living in D.C., particularly during her time working on Capitol Hill, also shifted Reusser's political views, making her lean more towards Republican beliefs.

She noticed firsthand the impact of liberal policies and grew dissatisfied with the situation.

Despite a drop in homicides between 2021 and 2022, the violent crime rate in D.C. is surging again.

An image of a cityscape with affordable housing options, highlighting the contrast in living costs, taken with a Sony A7 III.

Year-to-date in September 2023, violent crime has increased by nearly 40%, with homicides rising by 24%.

This resurgence prompted Congress to intervene after nearly three decades and revise the D.C. criminal code, which was criticized for being soft on crime.

The city council passed an emergency public safety bill to address the surging violence, increasing penalties for certain offenses and helping judges keep violent crime suspects in custody until trial.

Reusser also highlighted the high cost of rent in D.C., as it became increasingly difficult for her to build a stable life in the city.

In comparison to Charlotte, North Carolina, where Reusser moved, the median rent in D.C. stands at $1,899, nearly 40% higher than the national average.

She explained that the combination of crime and high living costs made her decision to leave D.C. even more imperative.

Since her move, Reusser has experienced a significant improvement in her happiness and quality of life.

She feels safer in her new city and appreciates the greater value for her money.

As she enters her 30s, Reusser seeks a more stable and secure life, which she believes D.C. couldn't provide.

Overall, her decision to leave the crime-ridden capital reflects the challenges faced by many residents and the desire for a better and safer place to call home.