A beautifully restored town house in the heart of Georgetown's residential neighborhood had caught the attention of Juan Cameron as he hurried to a community crime meeting Monday night. As he walked, he stared at the brightly lit house, then was jostled by a young man coming toward him, he said.

"The man said something unintelligible," Cameron said. "I pushed past him thinking he was a panhandler and then he shot me."

Cameron, 63, a well-known community activist and past president of the Citizens Association of Georgetown, became a victim of the street crime that has deeply concerned him and other residents of one of the city's most expensive and best-known neighborhoods for the past several years.

Yesterday Cameron was in good condition at Georgetown University Hospital with a bullet lodged in his right thigh.

Police arrested two men near 31st and Dunbarton streets NW a short time after the shooting. They were identified as Robert L. Taylor, 22, of the 1400 block of Congress Place SE and Richard S. Ferguson, 35, of the 1400 block of Fifth Street NW.

Cameron called the incident that occurred as he walked to the citizens association meeting on crime a "crazy thing. There was no altercation. There was no conversation at all."

"You know the funny thing about this is that I had lunch just two weeks ago with {Deputy Chief Roland} Perry and he kept telling me Georgetown is the safest neighborhood in the city," Cameron said. "I kept telling him I didn't think it was very safe."

Perry could not be reached for comment. Capt. William White III, a spokesman for the police department, said Perry did have lunch with Cameron but assured him only that Georgetown was not as dangerous as some recent reports have suggested.

Kathleen Graff, president of the citizens association, said yesterday of the shooting, "This is the very thing we have been talking about, these street muggings. Sometimes they have knives and sometimes they have guns. Juan is a living testimony to the fact we need more police in Georgetown."

Other residents of the neighborhood, including Advisory Neighborhood Commission Chairman Roger Pauley, agreed with Graff.

"I think there is a perception that street violence and muggings are worse, but I am not sure that the data would bear that out," he said. "The problem that the city is experiencing with drug trafficking will have a spillover effect in Georgetown as well as other places."

Graff said she would press the police to assign foot patrols to the residential areas of Georgetown as she has done repeatedly in the past.

"We have more police around during the summer but in the winter there are very, very few on patrol," she said. "Police can't do much about those drug murders where people know each other. But they can make a difference here with our crime problem."

Cameron, who expects to go home from the hospital today, said, "I view all of this with a great sense of satisfaction. I survived and I am very relieved."