Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the owner of Capital One Arena, increased its funding by 20 percent to hire off-duty police officers for game events, according to Cuneyt Dil of Axios and other reports.
Capital One Arena is the economic center in Washington’s Chinatown neighborhood. Since the building opened in 1997, it has turned Chinatown from a seedy neighborhood to a vibrant entertainment district. Since the coronavirus pandemic began in 2020, Chinatown, like any other entertainment district in the United States, has suffered a setback.
Violent crime has increased nationwide, including in Chinatown. There were also shootings near the arena. A Metro bus driver was struck by a stray bullet when a Washington Wizards game was in progress on Dec. 26, 2021. A double shooting happened on Nov. 30, 2022 not long after a Rod Wave concert.
I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence with increased crime in Chinatown from 2020-2022 or not. But Gallery Place, the complex connected to Chinatown is becoming an increasingly vacant piece of real estate. Stores like Bed Bath and Beyond closed. And the Regal Cinema is also expected to close soon. The McDonald’s that is on Capital One Arena’s grounds closed last December, though it was because Monumental Sports decided not to renew the lease. Regardless, when businesses close and space stays vacant for a long time, it is not good for anyone.
For those of you who go to Wizards and Capitals games, concerts and other events at Capital One Arena, do you feel that the Chinatown area is still safe? During games and events, I feel fine. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.