Oct 3, 2023 - News

Where violent crime has spiked in D.C.

Reported violent crimes in D.C. in 2023, by<br> census tract
Data: D.C. Metropolitan Police Department.  Map: Tory Lysik/Axios Visuals

D.C.'s crime map is a tale of two cities divided by Rock Creek, with violence increasing most sharply east of the park.

Why it matters: Most of this year's 212 homicides and gunfire have occurred in Northeast and Southeast, especially hurting families and the lives of young people in D.C.'s communities of color.

By the numbers: Violent crime is up 38% in Washington compared to the same time last year.

  • The Anacostia and Fairlawn area has recorded 10 homicides so far this year, one of the highest concentrations in the city.
  • The Brentwood area in Northeast has seen nine homicides.
  • In Adams Morgan, robberies soared 95% from last year.

On the other side: West of Rock Creek Park, violence is relatively low in affluent and majority-white neighborhoods like Tenleytown and Georgetown.

  • But motor vehicle thefts in Ward 3, which includes upper Wisconsin and Connecticut avenues, have increased by 48 incidents compared to last year.

The big picture: A mix of residents interviewed by the Washington Post last month showed a portrait of a city shaken by the violence, perhaps most intensely since the much more violent 1980s and 1990s.

  • For example: With many teenagers becoming victims of crime, parents are worried about the safety of children traveling to flag football games in Southeast, Derek Floyd, a coach at Barry Farm Recreation Center in Ward 8, told the Post.
  • Some teens are staying away from practices too, lest they become targets because "people know where they are," he says.

What they're saying: New acting police chief Pamela Smith said on WAMU radio that the force is "very, very intentional" about where officers are deployed, given the Metropolitan Police Department is "down approximately 500 officers."

Between the lines: The tension over where to deploy police resources played out early this year as well. Sports teams and their owners had sought more security around Capital One Arena and Nationals Park.

  • But Mayor Muriel Bowser noted at the time that she needed to balance the deployment of officers across the city, especially to places where crime is much more widespread.

What we're watching: D.C. began a youth curfew in September. Chief Smith told WAMU last Friday that "We have been in contact with about 28 youths" and that 14 were connected with resources for youth rehabilitation.


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