Violent crime drops in DC as 2017 nears end

WASHINGTON — Violent crime in the nation’s capital has plunged dramatically throughout the year, as 2017 enters its final month.

Violent crime is down 23 percent compared to this time last year, according to D.C. police crime data.

“We’re very, very pleased with the results we’ve had with violent crime this year,” Chief Peter Newsham told WTOP.

As of Nov. 27, the District recorded 106 homicides — 14 percent fewer than the 123 killings reported by Thanksgiving 2016.

Sex abuse is down 13 percent over last year, with a total of 271 sex crimes. Halfway through 2017, sex abuse cases had seen a small increase over the previous year, but that increase has been reversed.

Assaults with a deadly weapon have been reported 1,700 times in the first 11 months of 2017, down 20 percent from 2016.

Newsham attributed the success to District agencies working together.

“There’s more to solving crime than just the police,” he said.

“A lot of things go into crime — lack of opportunity, sometimes it’s substance abuse, sometimes it’s mental health issues,” said Newsham. “It appears all the city agencies are engaged in helping us to reduce crime, and I think we’re seeing the result.”

Robbery has seen a 27 percent drop in 2017, with 1,992 cases — far below last November’s 2,744 cases.

A few years ago, Newsham said partnering agencies looked at dealing with reducing robberies, which occurred more than other violent crimes.

“When we see pattern robberies, we’re trying to catch these guys as quick as we can, and then we’re working with our prosecutors at the attorney general’s office and U.S. attorney’s office to make solid, closable cases, to hold people responsible when they’re involved in this sort of behavior,” he said.

In addition to the drop in violent  crime, property crimes in the District are down 8 percent, resulting in an overall 10 percent drop in crime in D.C., according to police data.

“If you look at crime totals since 2009, violent crime in particular has been on a steady decline,” said Newsham. “To have a 23 percent reduction, on top of some of the lowest (crime totals) we’ve had in recent years is a really good sign for Washington, D.C.”

“We’re looking forward to next year, hopefully we can do it again,” Newsham said.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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

Sign up