Violent Crime in D.C. Surges in 2012

Andrea Noble, Washington Times, February 19, 2012

Violent crime so far this year in the District has spiked sharply—a 40 percent increase that includes twice as many robberies at gunpoint than at this time last year.

Across the city, all police districts are reporting increases in violent crime, and all but one have had double-digit percentage increases, according to internal Metropolitan Police Department documents. The documents contained preliminary crime data for the city as of Thursday.

The crime rate is increasing this year after a downward trend—the number of reported homicides last year dropped to the lowest level in a half-century.

Homicides were the only category of violent crime to decline in the first six weeks this year. As of Thursday, the city had recorded 10 homicides compared with 11 at a similar point last year.

Overall, though, incidents of violent crime—homicides, sexual assaults, robberies and assaults with deadly weapons—are rising at an alarming pace.

The biggest increase was in the 1st District, which includes Capitol Hill, where violent crime jumped by 69 percent, with 110 incidents reported compared with 65 at this point last year. The highest increase was in the 7th District, east of the Anacostia River, where 181 were reported, up 43 percent from the 127 incidents recorded at this point in 2011.

The 2nd District, which includes upper Northwest, reported the smallest increase in violent crime, at 4 percent. But of the 53 violent crimes reported there, 37 were robberies. {snip}

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Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier warned of a citywide spike in robberies at a Feb. 10 news conference. She said the increase was attributable to criminals targeting smartphones and similar electronics.

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Statistics obtained by The Washington Times show that the 578 robberies recorded this year represent an increase of 55 percent compared with figures from the opening weeks of 2011. In addition, the number of robberies in which a gun was used has more than doubled, with 252 such robberies this year compared with 124 last year. {snip}

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Overall crime—violent crimes and property crimes such as burglary, theft and arson—has increased 25 percent from last year to this year.

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