Violent crime plunges in DC in first half of 2017

WASHINGTON — Despite a violent July Fourth that saw six shootings, one of them fatal, D.C. has seen a marked decrease in violent crime compared to this time last year.

A man was shot to death on Galveston Street SW early Wednesday morning. Five other shootings and a stabbing resulted in injuries in the hours after Fourth of July activities wrapped up in the District.

However, the Metropolitan Police Department reported that violent crime is down 26 percent compared to the first six months of 2016, according to the department’s online records management system.

“While we have experienced a significant decrease in violent crime, there’s still more work ahead,” said D.C. police chief Peter Newsham. “I’d like to thank the dedicated MPD officers who work tirelessly to make our communities safer, and the residents who have partnered with us to share in this role. ”

In the first half of 2017, through July 5, the District recorded 56 homicides. That is 14 percent fewer than the 65 homicides reported in the first half of 2016.

Figures for assault with a dangerous weapon dropped even more, down 22 percent, and robberies are down 33 percent.

The District has seen a small increase in the number of sexual abuse cases. D.C. police reported 162 such incidents during the first half of the year, up from 158 in 2016.

Property crimes dropped 3 percent, according to police records, with burglary and arson showing the largest decrease.

The District is on track for one of its lower homicide totals in recent years. Last year, 135 people lost their lives as the result of a homicide, marking a 17 percent drop over 2015’s death toll.

“Let’s all work together to ensure this is an even safer place to live, work, and visit,” Newsham said.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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