By Mike Tucker
The New Year brought with it some good news to DC residents. Long known as the “Murder Capital,” our city seems to be far from it these days. With only 88 murders in 2012, Mayor Vincent Gray announced that the District reached a low it hadn’t seen since 1961.
Falling below the100 mark pales in comparison to the homicide and crack cocaine ridden streets of the late 80’s and early 90’s, when the annual murder totals were over 400 for consecutive years in a row.
In addition to a lower murder rate, homicide cases were solved at a rate of 82 percent, which is above the national average.
“By focusing on gangs, guns and investing in technology in recent years we have made a real impact on violent crime,” Chief Cathy Lanier said.
The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) has a text tip line 50-411 text tip line that in 2012 received 2,036 tips. They have also used social media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to publicize and solve crimes.
“We have also developed trusting relationships with our communities, and we are getting more information from the community than I have experienced in 23 years,” explained Chief Lanier
“It marks a sign that the city is changing but it still has a ways to go,” said Ward 8 resident, Charlene Washington.
Robberies were up 50 percent from 2011, but through a concerted effort to prevent robberies by MPD, the final number ended up on par with the previous year. Juvenile victims of homicides declined 85 percent, and juvenile homicide offenders declined 63 percent, which was another focus of the administration and MPD.
“Public safety in the District has clearly been a top priority for my administration, and this will continue in 2013 as we work with MPD to continue making this city a safe place for those who live, work and visit here,” Mayor Vincent Gray said.