Violent crimes of all kinds are on the rise in D.C.

December 14, 2010

By Matthew Cella-The Washington Times

A violent weekend in Washington, D.C., in which five people were shot, one fatally, in one incident and another person was killed in a separate shooting capped off a 30-day period in which all categories of violent crime in the nation’s capital increased over the past year.

Internal department documents obtained by The Washington Timescontain preliminary police statistics that say 11 homicides were recorded in the past 30 days compared with nine over the same period last year. The 348 robberies were up from 342 in 2009. Assaults jumped from 187 last year to 202 this year, and sexual assaults increased from nine last year to 21 this year.

While the jump in crime rates over the past 30 days was modest, it remains significant because it runs counter to recent trends in the city. Virtually all categories of violent crime — homicides, assaults and robberies — are either unchanged or lower in the District for the year to date than for last year. The only notable increase in violent crime is in sexual assaults, which are up from 137 last year to 200 so far this year, according to the preliminary statistics.

While it accounted for the smallest number of violent crimes, the biggest percentage increase over the past 30 days compared with the same period last year was in the 2nd Police District — which includes the Upper Northwest neighborhoods of Chevy Chase, Cleveland Park, Foggy Bottom and Georgetown. Police say 60 violent crimes have occurred in those neighborhoods compared with 42 over the same period last year, a 43 percent jump. A spike in assaults, from nine last year to 23 this year, fueled the increase in the 2nd District.

Kristopher Baumann, chairman of the labor committee that represents Metropolitan Police officers, said the department should be doing more to publicize the crime increase. He said people can take steps to prevent being victimized if they are aware that crimes such as robberies and sexual assaults are up in certain areas.

“Why aren’t we actively reaching out to the public and saying, ‘Hey, listen, this is what you need to be doing’?” he said.

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