Millions of people live in Washington D.C. and tens of thousands more visit every day. This city is the seat of United States government and the capital of the country, yet is considered a hotbed of criminal activity. D.C. has some of the strictest gun laws of any city in the country, yet it still sits in the top five of the most dangerous cities in the United States, with frequent shootings and other types of violent crime.
Though, luckily, overall crime seems to be decreasing. It is difficult to associate the stunning monuments along the Mall with neighborhoods where it’s not necessarily safe to walk, or even drive, through after dark, because of drug and gang violence. The federal government has put a lot of effort into making D.C. safe for its citizens and visitors by reducing the crime rate, with varying levels of success over the past few years. I’ll take a closer look at some specific incidents of crime and the recently gathered statistics.
This past May, a series of shootings occurred in suburban Washington, when a federal officer murdered his estranged wife. He then committed more shootings at a shopping mall and later outside of a grocery store. Schools went on lockdown, but an officer soon spotted the suspect. He was eventually taken into custody without incident. Various other shootings have occurred in the last couple of weeks, such as a man shooting into a car at a person who owed him money, a woman shot and killed while she was driving, and drug-related incidents. Various burglaries and break-ins have also occurred throughout D.C. neighborhoods.
Though D.C. continues to rank at the top of cities with the most crime, recent reports show that overall crime has decreased in the last year. As of October 18th, all crime has decreased by about 5% from 2015. Homicides dropped by 11%, from 123 to 110, though there are still a few months left in 2016. Most crime occurs during hotter weather, when tempers are short, so the numbers may not change too much in the duration of this year. Assault with a dangerous weapon saw a 1% drop, from 1,902 to 1,888. While that may not be a huge difference, progress is being made, which is important. Total violent crime has dropped by 4% and property crime has dropped by 5 percent.
Various efforts have been made to further decrease these crime numbers. The federal government is working on measures to decrease crime nationwide. Many government officials, particularly those in the Democratic Party, are calling for stricter gun control across the country in an effort to prevent anyone who should not have a weapon from acquiring one.
Democrats in D.C. have also recently vowed to do more to assist domestic violence victims. Over 30,000 domestic violence calls are made to the D.C. police every year, making this issue incredibly important. Lawmakers intend to do all they can to decrease these numbers.
While Washington D.C. may be one of the most violent cities in the country, these numbers are getting lower and government officials are aware that improvements can be made. We should all hope that these improvements will be made quickly and D.C. can move forward as a city with significantly less crime.