Why Did Crime Plummet in One D.C. Block? Police Action, People Change


The Washington Post focuses on a former crack- and gun-infested block not far from the Capitol called Hanover Place to examine why crime is down so much in the last few decades. Residents are quick to name two reasons the nights when they heard as many as 75 gunshots are a fading memory: The cast of characters has changed, and the police cleaned out the place. The Post takes a look at the usual suspects, including policing and demographic changes, as well as some of the usual ones, like abortion rates and gasoline lead, and finds no firm cause of declining crime. As for guns, neither more nor fewer guns seem to result in much change in violent crime. During its three- decade experiment with the nation's toughest gun ban, Washington, D.C., experienced both a record-high homicide rate and the sharpest decline in killings of any major U.S. city. That shift is evident on Han­over Place. New residents urge police to go after the guys drinking on the corner, but longer-term residents say the block is safer and happier than back when motorists would line up around the corner, waiting to buy $50 and $100 packets of cocaine, back when there were four slayings in one year on the one short block.

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