The District of Columbia will see less than 100 murders this year, something that hasn’t happened in a half-century. On Dec. 17, police chief Cathy Lanier sat down with Homicide Watch D.C. reporters Penny Ray and Sam Pearson. Looking at the numbers, she said:
When I think about the number from where I started from in 1990 when we had 479, it seems dramatic. I’ve said since ‘07 our tipping point is less than 100 and we can do it. But I still think about 82 families who have lost somebody. So it’s certainly not, it’s not victory. But it feels like a good milestone for us. I think we passed the tipping point.
How did the District do it? In the segment below, Lanier lists four tactics that have turned the tide: A gun unit focused on illegal firearms, better intelligence to disrupt gang activity, increased public support and new investments in technology.
We asked Lanier about the most memorable homicide in 2013. She answered quickly: Selina Brown, killed as she boarded a Metro bus, carrying her two-year-old daughter.
In 2012, 74 victims of homicide were black, three were white, two were Asian and two were Hispanic. More than 80 percent of this year’s homicides happened east of Capitol Street: 38 in Northeast, 37 in Southeast. (More here.) When we asked Lanier about these figures, here’s what she said:
Finally, we asked what to expect in 2013:
Lanier, in closing, said this of D.C.: “It is one of the safest cities in America.”