Homicides Decrease in Washington Region

Allison Klein, Washington Post, December 31, 2012

The number of homicides dropped again last year in the Washington region, including in the District, which grew in population and yet recorded the fewest killings in a half-century.

As of Monday evening, the District had 88 killings in 2012, a milestone for D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier, whose long-standing goal has been fewer than 100 homicides. As recently as 2009, the District had 140 killings. In 2011, there were 108.

In Prince George’s County, where crime dropped in nearly every category, there were 63 homicides, down from 97 in 2011, a harkening back to the 1980s, when the county had more farmland than urban centers or upscale subdivisions.

Police point to several reasons for the decrease, which has been part of a years-long national trend in some major cities across the country. Authorities have broken up dozens of violent gangs, seized thousands of guns, used technology to monitor the streets and directed additional resources to high-crime areas.

And District officials have given residents a financial incentive to provide tips: nearly $600,000 in reward money was paid out last year.

Although homicides have fallen, robberies have been a stubborn problem in the District. Smartphones and designer apparel are popular targets. {snip}


Killings in some of the region’s suburbs, where violent crimes are far more infrequent, remained about the same as the previous year, with Montgomery County recording 15 and Alexandria none. {snip}

In the District, which has added more than 30,000 residents in just over two years, gun assaults also decreased about 11 percent last year, continuing a recent trend. But overall, assaults with deadly weapons have increased about 7 percent, police data show.

One of the most widespread crimes in recent years has been street robbery. At the beginning of the year, holdups spiked so severely that the department turned its focus to curbing them, beefing up its robbery unit and deploying extra patrols and teams of undercover decoys.


New York City announced an all-time low in homicides this year, with 414 as of Friday, 100 fewer than in 2011. The city also posted a record low number of shootings, 1,353, down from 1,420 the previous year.

Chicago, however, is experiencing a wave of violence and recently recorded its 500th killing of 2012.

Homicides in Philadelphia and Baltimore remain down significantly from historic highs, but were up slightly compared with 2011.


In recent years, the drug trade has steadily declined as open-air markets have faded and criminals have turned to stealing and selling smartphones and other devices. Last year, there were fewer than 10 drug-related homicides, officials said—a far cry from the 1990s, when the trade in crack cocaine was much of the reason the District saw close to 500 homicides a year.

In 2007, Lanier said, there were 70 gangs involved in criminal activity. Now there are about 20. {snip}


Gang unit officers targeted certain areas and let gang members know that they were being watched. If a gang fight broke out in a school or on Metro, officers would be on members’ doorsteps hours later, telling them they would go to jail if they retaliated.

The department has emphasized technology. The District has the country’s biggest deployment of ShotSpotter gun sensor technology, which alerts police to the sound of gunfire. Lanier also oversees the department’s license plate readers, scores of cameras fanned across the city that spot wanted cars and monitor vehicles traveling in and out the District.

Police are testing a system that would beam real-time footage of shooting scenes directly to laptops inside patrol cars. The program connects ShotSpotters with the department’s 91 closed-circuit surveillance street cameras.

The hope, Lanier says, is that officers can use the technology to quickly track down shooters and witnesses. “It will be a tremendous asset,” she said.




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  • The__Bobster

    Rich cities have been forcing out their feral groids, thus resulting in lower head counts. The receiving cities haven’t been so lucky.

    • JohnEngelman

      For gentrification to happen a city needs sources of high income jobs and adequate law enforcement. Adequate law enforcement consists of scraping the criminals off of the streets and shoveling them into prison.

      Once the process starts the two forces complement each other: as more high income people move in, the crime rate declines, encouraging more high income people to move in.

      • MikeofAges

        Do you know the way to San Jose? I’ve been away for oh so long.

        • StillModerated

          Mexicans! They do the jobs Africans won’t do.

        • JohnEngelman

          I moved to downtown San Jose, California in January 1978. The area was so badly blighted it resembled a bombed out city. Every night looked like Halloween night. Unfortunately, the scary looking people walking around were not wearing costumes. That was the way they really looked. When I told people where I lived they shuddered.

          Then the downtown area was engulfed by tens of thousands of impoverished Vietnamese war refugees. They took any job they could find and rebuilt the city. In the early 1980s I would often leave work at 10:00 pm, and walk three miles home. Nothing happened to me. If I tried that in the predominantly black city where I live now I would probably be killed after a few weeks.

          When I went to a public library on a week night, or on Saturday it was full of Vietnamese teenagers doing their homework.

          Currently, San Jose has the lowest crime rate of any large city in the United States.



          • Jackryanvb

            Yeah, OK but please know over 80 percent of those hard working Vietnamese voted for Obama and Lib Dems like Boxer and Feinstein. It’s the same with White Gays, Jews, Muslim immigrants. These groups may lead generally positive, low crime lives but they are not our people and they vote against White people, support pols and culture that insults, threatens White Americans. It doesn’t matter how low the crime rate is or how vibrant local food and music choices are, White Americans don’t want to live and raise a family in some place where we’ve been politically dispossessed.

          • JohnEngelman

            I voted for President Obama too. Anyone who reads many of my posts knows that I have a high regard for Orientals, Jews, and immigrants from India. They earn their achievements and prosperity with their superior intelligence.

          • MikeofAges

            Absolutely. That was my point, that anyone who hypes the success of non-European immigrant groups has to account for their disregard for the development of those who were here already. Even blacks, if dare point that out.
            I ger Mr. engleman’s point, that assimilated and settled whites, Asians and Hispanics can leave together harmoniously. But that, IMHO, is not the only issue. Our development is an issue too.

          • MikeofAges

            I lived in downtown San Jose in the 1970s. Actually, I was one of the scary looking people just so you know. At least in your eyes. In reality, except for the actual business district, take away the superficial beautification and most of downtown and the East Side looks about the same now as it did then. I am very aware of your issue, which is the argument that assimilated whites, Asians and Hispanics can live together peacefully.

            My argument is that people of white Europeans descent in America, except for those for whom specific arrangements have been made, are an underdeveloped and disadvantaged group. Shouldn’t America, in the last five decades, have put its efforts into developing the people who lived here already? Saw it reported here that business made the same argument about immigration in the early 1920s before limitations finally were passed. Even with the depression, the next five decades were an era of stupendous development for the existing native-born population, even blacks.

            BTW, the Vietnamese did not move into downtown as such, but to an area near downtown to the south and east.known locally as “LIttle Saigon”. That’s “Little Saigon”, not “Little Hanoi” or “Little Ho Chi Minh City”.On that particular, most of the people here have their back, I am sure. Do you?

  • Johnny Clay

    The crime in DC has been going down because the criminal element has moved out and moved into Prince George’s County. Some former bad spots of DC are actually starting to look good.

  • Hal K

    88 in one year is amazing. This is from Wikipedia:

    The number of homicides per year in Washington, D.C., peaked at 479 in 1991.

  • pcmustgo

    HASN’T DC ALSO BEEN FLOODED WITH SWPL RICH WHITE YUPPIE PEOPLE? That’s one way to make crime go down! Gentrificaton.

  • 48224

    I keep waiting for the day when security cameras, DNA testing and other technology are deemed “racist” because too many black males are put in the slam. I think lefty liberals call it “disparate impact”

    • Jackryanvb

      Ron Paul made a very similar argument, saying that young Blacks were in prison because of drug crimes and were victims of American RACIST criminal justice system. Ron Paul probably made these ridiculous pro Black criminal statements to increase his Black support from zero percent to, well to zero percent.

      • SintiriNikos

        I agree with Ron Paul on the drug war issue, however he is mistaken if he thinks all the blacks that get pinched are nabbed merely for being in possession of a little reefer.

        • The notion that there are throngs of people doing hard time in prison for merely having a little bit of weed is far more the fantasy/fiction/agitprop of people who want drugs legalized than it is actual reality. If you’re doing 20 for “drugs,” it means you pled guilty to dealing in exchange for the D.A. dropping a lot more serious charges.

          • SintiriNikos

            I generally agree with you QD, but I think alcohol and drugs are exactly the same. Both can be very harmful, however illegalizing them is worse, to wit the criminal organizations that thrive on the illicit commerce.

          • Luis

            The Harrison Narcotics Act (1914) predates the Volstead (Prohibition) Act by six years.

            Alcohol and narcotics are NOT the same. You can’t compare a bottle of gin to six ounces of heroin and say they’re the same. They’re no more the same than an okapi is the same as a giraffe.

          • SintiriNikos

            I think the principle is the same. Thomas Aquinas distilling St. Augustine, said not all vices should be punished by law. If an act does not cause harm or defraud others, there is no need for a law forbidding it, especially if the prohibition leads to still further evils, as is the case in the never-ending, costly, bloody, and ultimately losing so-called war on drugs. The only other war that I can think of that is as ridiculous as this one is the war on Terror.

  • lupin

    The future will be an arms race between a growing number of underclass predators and a more sophisticated technology managing public order (CCTV, biometric databases, facial recognition, voice recognition, GPS anklets, etc.). We will welcome the growing power of the state because we fear the growing menace of the underclass. We will give up liberty because too many of our fellow residents can’t be trusted with it.

    • JohnEngelman

      Actually, the number of underclass predators is declining because of the Roe v. Wade decision of 1973. The kind of females who are most likely to have abortions are also most likely to give birth to boy babies who grow up to be violent street criminals.

      A potential mugger who was aborted in 1974 would have been eighteen in 1992 when the rate of violent crime began to decline.

      • MikeofAges

        Choose your dystopia, buddy. Clearly, in your heart, you’re a Brave New World guy. Others prefer the Stalinist sloth of 1984. And some, the primeval madness and ceaseless hysteria of The Road Warrior.

  • longing4abetterworld

    Why doesn’t the freaking article begin with the sharp increase in robberies, street crimes & violent killings that have moved into the suburbs as mentioned? Silly statistics hide the real facts, that black on white crimes are way up. Sheesh!!

  • Jackryanvb

    Gentrification, even Young White liberal grads moving to Washington DC to work for Obama BRA, Asians (Indian, Paki kind) means Washington DC is less and less like Marion Barry’s DC in the 1980s. Liberalism works in some local ways.

    • Luis

      There’s still the matter of the District’s public school system. I wouldn’t sing D.C.’s praises just yet.

      In addition, I think the SCOTUS decision in D.C. v. Heller might have something to do with the declining crime rate.