State Watch

DC homicide level highest since 2003

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The homicide level in Washington, D.C., reached its highest threshold since 2003 on Monday after the 200th homicide this year was recorded.

A man was fatally shot Monday evening in Southeast Washington, according to The Washington Post, becoming the 200th person to be killed in the District this year. The last time such a level was reached was in 2003, according to the Post.

Washington, D.C., recorded 178 homicides in 2020, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.

Deadly violence in the District has been increasing since 2017, when 116 homicides were recorded, according to the Post. Shootings, however, are reportedly down this year, while crimes involving juveniles are up.

The spike in homicides in the District coincides with an increase in murders across the country. From the beginning of this year through September homicides increased in 29 major cities throughout the country compared to the same time period last year, the Post reported, citing the Council on Criminal Justice.

The elevated numbers in the District also come after the FBI revealed in its Uniform Crime Report in September that homicides increased by almost 30 percent in 2020 compared to the year prior.

Officials in the nation’s capital have not singled out the source driving the increase in homicides, though some have pointed to the increase in illegal firearms, their utilization in smaller clashes and pandemic-related disruptions that delayed courts, emptier jails, limited public transportation and the fractured safety net that several underserved communities rely on, the Post reported.

The D.C. police union says the spike in deadly violence is a result of changes in policing that were established last summer following protests that responded to the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed at the hands of police, according to the Post. Those demonstrations reportedly led to scaled-back departments and budgets. Activists have pushed back on the union’s claims, according to the Post.

The Hill has reached out to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Metropolitan Police Department for comment.

Updated at 11:10 a.m. to clarify that the last time D.C. reached this homicide threshold was in 2003.

Tags Crime D.C. gun violence homicides Muriel Bowser Washington
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