The District faced the highest number of homicides last year in more than a decade, according to data from the Metropolitan Police Department.
MPD data shows 166 reported homicides in 2019, up slightly from 2018 and the highest number of murders since 2008. MPD officials said they are particularly concerned about the number of children killed – 12 – over the course of the year, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
But as D.C.’s homicide rate climbs, the city’s overall violent crime rate has been dropping, according to MPD data. In 2018, violent crimes on campus had dropped by nearly half in the past three years, according to GW’s annual safety and security report.
MPD Police Chief Peter Newsham said the availability of illegal firearms in D.C. is likely increasing the city’s rising homicide rates, The Post reported. About half of all people who are arrested for homicides have also been arrested for illegal firearms, he told The Post.
Newsham said D.C. officials should take steps to ensure gun offenders receive the proper punishment to not repeat offenses, The Post reported. He said offenders who are caught by police twice is “disturbing” because it means MPD is not “appropriately dealing” with the offender the first time.
D.C. officials dedicated more attention to the homicide rate in October when eight people were killed in just five days, The Post reported.