Feb 23, 2023 - News

Gun violence is on the rise in D.C.

Two maps showing the locations of alleged gun violence crimes in D.C. in 2017 and 2022.

Data: Open Data DC. Chart: Axios Visuals

Gun violence has increased significantly in the District over the last five years.

The big picture: Despite a number of safety initiatives, prevention programs, and restrictive gun laws, D.C. is struggling to get a handle on gun violence.

What’s happening: Areas including Florida Ave. NW near Shaw, H St. NE near Kingman Park, and parts of Southeast near Anacostia have seen the biggest increases in gun violence.

  • In 2017, there were 1,573 reported violent crimes in D.C. involving a gun. Last year, that number increased to 2,203, a 40% jump.
  • MPD seized 3,152 guns last year; that’s over 800 more than in 2021.

State of play: In response to increased violence at Metro stations, WMATA has amped up security, enlisting additional MPD officers to patrol certain stations in an effort to prevent violent incidents.

  • Additionally, the D.C. Council is reconsidering whether to phase out school resource officers as previously planned. Montgomery County schools already reintroduced school officers in response to upticks in violence shortly after removing them.

Between the lines: D.C. is also seeing an increase in the number of juvenile perpetrators and victims of violent crime.

Roughly half of the juveniles arrested for violent crimes last year were first-time offenders, which MPD called “staggering,” per the Washington Post. Usually, petty crimes precede violent ones.

Yes, but: D.C. is far less violent than it was during the height of the crack epidemic in the '90s when the city averaged more than 400 homicides per year.

Overall, 2022 was less violent than 2021, although the number of homicides exceeded 200 for the second year in a row.

What’s next: The District is seeking help from residents and local organizations. The Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services is currently accepting grant applicants for projects aimed at mentoring at-risk youth as part of violence prevention efforts.


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