DC homicide rate highest since 2004

As the District combated an increase in coronavirus cases, with more than 780 residents dying from the virus, D.C. dealt with another plague in 2020: rising homicide rates.

According to D.C. police data, there were 198 homicides in 2020, up from 166 homicides in 2019 — a 19% jump. That makes 2020 the deadliest year for the District since 2004, which had 248 homicides, and slightly above 2005, which had 196 homicides.

Homicides have been increasing steadily over the last three years.

Homicides in 2020 included the tragic shooting of Davon McNeal. The 11-year-old boy was shot in the head at a “stop the violence” cookout in July. Four men have been arrested in that case.

The year’s end saw the “unfathomable” Southeast shooting death of 15-month-old Carmelo Duncan in early December. Police have since recovered the SUV believed to be connected to his death.

While homicides surged in 2020, violent crime overall saw a slight decrease of 4% compared to 2019. There were 3,983 violent crimes in 2020 versus 4,168 violent crimes in 2019.

One of the biggest spikes in crime came from motor vehicle thefts. In 2020, D.C. police reported 3,276 thefts, a 50% rise over the 2,181 in 2019.

See the District’s crime data online.

WTOP’s Luke Lukert contributed to this report.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up