Crime in D.C.: Less violent death, more sex crimes

UPDATE: Wednesday – 1/2/2013, 7:40pm ET – With just 88 homicides in 2012, the District of Columbia’s homicide rate has hit a low not seen since 1961, Mayor Vincent Gray’s office announced Wednesday.

Gray and Police Chief Cathy Lanier have scheduled a press conference for Thursday afternoon to discuss the historic benchmark.

Homicides have dropped significantly during the past four years. And the District’s homicide rate is dropping at a faster pace than the national average, police say.

The 88 deaths is a stark contrast to the crack wars that raged in the District’s streets, and across the country, in the late 1980s and early 1990s when the District’s homicides totaled more than 400 several years in a row.

WASHINGTON – Saturday – 12/29/2012, 8:17am ET – Despite a roughly 20 percent drop in homicides in the District, other types of violent crimes are up and Mayor Vincent Gray is renewing his call for more police officers.

Eighty-six deaths were ruled as homicides in the District in 2012. If that number holds through Monday night, it would be a 20 percent decrease in homicides, compared to the 108 violent deaths in 2011. That number would also continue a decline in homicides that spans two decades, according to police statistics.

The District’s homicide rate peaked at 454 deaths in 1993.

According to Homicide Watch D.C., 72 of this year’s homicides occurred between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. and watch records show none of the city’s homicide victims were under the age 18 this year.

In comparison, violent sex crimes are up nearly 51 percent when compared to 2011, according to police data. The data did not specify which types of crimes are included in this category.

Assault with a dangerous weapon reports were up 7 percent and the number of robberies reported in 2012 remained flat when compared with 2011.

But after a Capitol Hill man was fatally shot on Christmas Eve, Gray called again for additional officers to be added to the district’s 3,900-member police force.

His recent request to hire 48 new officers was rejected by the District’s city council. Thirty existing officers are back on patrol after Police Chief Cathy Lanier dissolved the narcotics unit.

WTOP’s Thomas Warren contributed to this report. Follow @tewarren and @WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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