Washington DC Homicides Spike to Highest Level Since 2003

Washington DC Homicides Spike to Highest Level Since 2003 washington dc police car parked in street (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

By Peter Malbin | Tuesday, 23 November 2021 11:33 AM

Washington, D.C., recorded the 200th homicide of this year on Monday, the highest threshold since 2003.

Murders in the nation's capital have been increasing since 2017, when 116 homicides were recorded, according to The Washington Post. Shootings are down this year, while crimes involving juveniles are up.

D.C. Police Chief Robert J. Contee III called reaching 200 homicides "very troubling," the Post reported.

Homicides have also been on the increase across the country this year. Through September, homicides increased in 29 major cities compared to the same time period last year, the Post reported, citing the Council on Criminal Justice.

Thomas Abt, a senior fellow at the Council on Criminal Justice, attributed the increase in murders in cities nationwide to "community gun violence" that is "concentrated in small networks of people and places," the Post reported.

In the District of Columbia, the spike in murders may be the result of more illegal firearms as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, which has slowed courts, emptied jails, and curtailed public transportation, officials say.

Protests in D.C. for Black Lives Matter and in favor of defunding the police reportedly led to scaled-back police departments and budgets. There are nearly 200 fewer D.C. officers this year than last year, the lowest in two decades.

According to police union chairman Greggory Pemberton, many who left the police department said they were frustrated over what they cite as restrictions in making arrests and other enforcement actions, the Post reported. "The Council’s continued desire to reduce the size and funding of the police department hangs like a dark cloud of our city," he said.

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