Lanier Promises Continued Efforts to Prevent Homicides in High Crime Neighborhoods as District Grows

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MPD Chief Cathy Lanier on Tuesday promised that police officers would remain focused on high crime neighborhoods, even as population growth happens elsewhere in the District.

High growth neighborhoods, Lanier said, would still be the focus of crime prevention efforts.

I’m not going to take police officers out of a neighborhood where I still got shootings going on,” she said at an event at the Urban Instuite.

A two-year study conducted by MPD revealed 14 areas throughout D.C. that are experiencing growth, which presents a challenge to police officers. A newly developing area quickly becomes a magnet for crime, Lanier said.

“We can prevent all that and ensure that these areas continue to grow,” she said.

Lanier’s comments were part of a panel convened to discuss the decline of D.C. homicides. The panel also addressed how other cities across the nation can emulate elements of D.C.’s success.

Last year, 92 people were killed in DC, the lowest number if homicides since 1963. The District recorded nearly 500 homicides a year in the 1990’s, but in recent years has seen a steady decline.

On Tuesday, Lanier said DC has seen a dramatic decrease in the number of shots fired daily and non-lethal shootings in addition to a reduction in homicides.

Lanier credited the decline to MPD’s gang prevention efforts, as well as domestic violence prevention efforts.

“I have a lot of theories about what policing tactics and technologies that we’ve used that I believe have really had a huge impact on it,” Lanier said.

She added that social factors, including joblessness, mental health services, and the availability and robustness of government and other social programs are significant factors of violent crime. These factors are often overlooked when it comes to violent crime prevention, she said.

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