Washington, D.C., and adjoining Prince George’s County, Md., the region’s most violent jurisdictions, logged their lowest homicide totals in years in 2009, with D.C. hitting a 45-year -low, the Washington Post reports. The number of slayings last year in Washington, once known as the nation’s murder capital, was 140, a 25 percent drop from 2008. Prince George’s recorded 100 killings, the county’s lowest in nine years. “It’s huge,” said D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier. “We’re making an impact.”
Although final year-end totals have not been tallied, New York expects to post its fewest homicides since 1963. Philadelphia had a 9 percent decrease, and Chicago an 11 percent drop. There is no consensus among police officials about why crime went down in 2009; theories include more focused enforcement, better use of technology, and stepped-up intelligence gathering.