Overall crime continues to decline in D.C. region, rape reports are up

WASHINGTON — The Washington area’s streets may be just a little bit safer this year as crime continues its five-year decline.

Overall crime across the 21 jurisdictions in the capital region went up 1.82 percent in 2012, but for the first time Charles County, Md., was included in the report, making the actual increase negligible.

Statistics collected by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments show a significant drop in homicides, down 17.67 percent, car theft down 12.6 percent and burglary down 6.1 percent.

But, at the same time there was a 14.6 percent increase in rape and a 13.8 percent increase in aggravated assault.

Alexandria, Va., Police Chief Earl Cook, who was among those presenting the statistics to COG, says the increase may be due to better reporting of rape and assault.

“This particular year it was up, but I will say it is not trending up, necessarily.”

Overall, crime across the country and in this region has been down over the last five years.

Larceny though jumped 4.5 percent in the capital region in 2012.

Part of that may be the increase in thefts of electronic devices, including cellphones and iPads.

D.C. Assistant Police Chief Patrick Burke says they continue to work with the public on awareness of such crimes. He says he even offers advice to his children.

“If they are at a Metro station or just out there in public, don’t just be focusing on your iPhone at the time. Pay attention to your surroundings.”

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier has been working with the FCC to try and change the technology of cellphones so they can be deactivated and blanked out when stolen, making them useless to crooks.

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