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DC sees more gun violence, deadlier shootings in 2018

WASHINGTON — In D.C., 160 people died by homicide in 2018, up from 116 in 2017 — a spike of about 40 percent.

In all, of the 534 people shot by another person in D.C. through mid-December, 23 percent ultimately died, according to statistics compiled by The Washington Post. That includes 12 deaths from previous years that police only recently deemed as homicides.

City officials say more gun violence has contributed to the rising number of murders, and D.C. saw one of the biggest increases in fatal shootings nationwide while most other major cities reported overall decreases.

Petty disputes between people who know each other and who have guns are at the root of the killings, the Post reports.

While homicides soared in D.C., deaths from shootings were down in other parts of the region.

In Montgomery County, Maryland, homicides decreased from 21 in 2017 to 19 in 2018, while in Fairfax County, Virginia, fatal shootings fell from 18 to 13 across the past two years.

Maryland’s Prince George’s County saw one of the most significant annual drops, going from 80 homicides in 2017 to 60 last year. In the Arlington, Virginia, homicides went from four to just three in 2018.

“When you look at our known homicide offenders in the city, about 40 percent of those have a prior gun arrest,” D.C. police chief Peter Newsham said. “At all levels of the criminal justice system, we have to do better.”

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