D.C. has surpassed 200 homicides for the first time in nearly two decades, a growing measure of violence that city officials have struggled to suppress.
The District has recorded 204 homicides in 2021 as of Tuesday night, passing 200 for the first time since 2003, which totaled 248 killings. The record year comes as violent crime in D.C. continues to steadily rise, already passing the 198 homicides logged in 2020.
Metropolitan Police Department data shows Foggy Bottom has remained relatively untouched by the uptick in violence – only two of this year’s homicides were committed in Ward 2, which contains Foggy Bottom. Neither homicide took place in the neighborhood surrounding GW’s campus, according to the data.
Killings in D.C. steadily decreased since 2003 until 2012, when city officials counted just 88 homicides, but they have since increased in seven of the past nine years, the data shows. Homicides are up 12 percent compared to this point last year.
In an interview with The Hatchet in June, MPD Chief Robert Contee said he planned to increase positive, nonconfrontational interactions between police and the community to build trust and strengthen the department’s relationship with locals.
“To me, when you talk about building trust and legitimacy with communities that we serve, the best way to do that is to have interactions that are not necessarily enforcement interactions,” Contee said in the interview. “And I think again, as we come out of the COVID environment, we’ll be able to do more of that.”