Though the area's houses, primarily late Victorian three story brownstones, were clearly built for the middle-class, it has in the last decade experienced severe economic decline, housing abandonment, crime and gang problems. Residents are primarily lower income African Americans. The area experienced significant gang violence between the local Young Gorilla Family gang and other gangs in 2006 and 2007. The gang violence issue continues to be an issue in the community. The city has installed blue light crime cameras throughout the neighborhood for surveillance purposes and to scare off offenders.
In 2010, the Housing Authority of Baltimore began the first phase of a redevelopment project to replace vacant and blighted houses in Barclay. Development rights for more than 100 units of city-owned property were assigned to Telesis Corporation as part of the project. Previous efforts to improve the neighborhood on a smaller scale involved two historic buildings converted into about 80 apartments in 2009. Phase II of the redevelopment of properties in Barclay began in the summer of 2013 with state and city grants from the Strategic Demolition and Smart Growth Impact Fund.