Nov 29, 2021 - News

D.C. faces spike in homicides

Illustration of the outline of Washington D.C. wrapped in crime scene tape.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Major cities across the country, including D.C., are facing a disturbing spike in homicides.

Driving the news: D.C. has reached 202 homicides as of yesterday afternoon, which is the highest number in the District since 2003. 

The big picture: Local officials can't pinpoint one specific reason for the rise in violence, the Washington Post reports. They’ve pointed to everything from an increase in illegal firearms to pandemic interruptions.

The rising homicide number is also bringing conversations about defunding the police back to the forefront.

  • Activists, the Post reports, don’t attribute increases in crime to police reform.
  • But, the D.C. police union says changes in policing created in the wake of George Floyd’s killing make fighting crime harder, the Post reports.
Number of homicides in Washington, D.C., by year
Data: Metropolitan Police Department; Chart: Axios Visuals

Zoom out: Prince George’s and Baltimore counties have also had high homicide numbers this year. 

  • P.G. County’s homicide count has reached the triple digits for the first time since 2008.  
  • Baltimore city has exceeded 300 homicides for the seventh year in a row, per the Post.

One common thread among the rise in homicides in P.G. County, Baltimore, and D.C. is the increasing number of young victims and young people charged with homicide.

  • 11 people under 18 have been charged with murder this year in PG County, Fox 5 reports. That includes a 12-year-old who was charged with a 13-year-old’s death.

Editor's note: This article has been corrected to show that Baltimore City (not Baltimore County) exceeded 300 homicides for the seventh year in a row.


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