Capital Alarmed About Crime, But The Numbers Are Down


Politicians in Washington, D.C., and its suburbs are taking a stand against a supposed crime spike that has alarmed the area, but there is no overall crime spike, says the Los Angeles Time. It’s more of a “blip,” says William F. McDonald of Georgetown University Law Center’s Institute of Criminal Law and Procedure. Although a man was slain this month in affluent Georgetown, at the current pace there would be fewer homicides in 2006 than in any of the last 20 years. There have been five armed robberies on the National Mall this summer, but overall D.C. crime is at its lowest in at least a decade. “It’s a big decline,” McDonald said. “It’s been on the decline since 1992.”

“Our goal is to reduce violent crime in the city by 50% over the next 30 days in every district of the city,” Washington Mayor Anthony Williams said Friday in announcing a violent crime task force of local and federal law enforcement agencies. “There are sociological factors that the criminal justice system really doesn’t touch that drive crime: economics, education levels, changes in the makeup of a population,” said James McDonough of the Virginia Criminal Justice Research Center. Data can be misleading, he said. For example, more arrests might not reflect increased crime, but a shift in resources to apprehend criminals.


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