Over the past two weeks, Homicide Watch DC has brought you a special series of stories about 2011 homicides in the District. We’ve published a Q&A with US Attorney Ronald Machen, guest columns from Mayor Vincent Gray and councilmembers, and in-depth looks at cold case investigations, how the judicial process works, and more.
But Homicide Watch certainly wasn’t alone in taking a look at 2011. Here’s how our colleagues at other media outlets covered the stories.
Washington Times: D.C. homicides drop by half in last decade
The number of homicides in the District declined in 2011 for the third straight year, a downward trend that has seen deadly violence in the city drop by more than half from just a decade ago.
Police reported 109 homicides last year, the lowest total in the city since 1963 and an 18 percent decrease from the 132 killings in 2010. Officials say community cooperation and good detective work are factors in the declines, which with each passing year seem to build on historic reductions.
Prince George’s County, which shares a border with the District and typically experiences similar problems with crime and violence, finished 2011 with 95 homicides, compared to 90 in 2010. The increase was fueled by a spate of 16 killings in January, some of which were retaliatory in nature, that authorities describe as an aberration.
“They would have most likely been down if not for that at the beginning of the year,” police spokesman Cpl. Henry Tippett said.
The District and Prince George’s County had nearly the same number of homicides in 2011, a major departure from a high 20 years ago, when the city saw 325 more slayings than the county.
It is a shift that reflects a double-digit drop in killings in the District from 2010 to 2011, with an especially noticeable downward trend in the most stubborn crime zones east of the Anacostia River. Just across the border, though, the homicide count in the neighboring communities in Prince George’s is surging, and the county as a whole saw a slight increase last year.
Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) said that the decline in homicides in the District is encouraging and that the city should work to try to get to fewer than 100 slayings in 2012.
“When people see crime going down like this, especially homicides, they are going to feel safer,” Gray said. “My sense is that people do feel safer. On the other hand, when you still see north of 100 homicides in the city, even though it’s a stark reduction, people are going to continue to be concerned about it. Some additional vigilance is going to serve you well, too.
Murders in the District are down 18 percent from last year, Gray said at a press conference Dec. 30. There were 132 homicides in 2010, and as of today, there were just 108 homicides recorded since 2011.
“And it is the lowest number of homicides we’ve had in the District of Columbia since 1963,” said Gray.