A Look at DC's 14-Year Drop in Crime

  • August 11th 2015

by UrbanTurf Staff

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A Look at DC's 14-Year Drop in Crime: Figure 1
A graphic that shows the number of assaults in DC over a 14-year period.

A recent study by the Urban Institute found that crime across DC has declined over the last two decades, but that more resources are needed to combat problems in certain neighborhoods.

The study analyzed violent crime — homicides, assaults and robberies — over the past 15 years, but used data from the past 25 years as a historical context to better understand these numbers. The report didn’t look at sexual assault statistics due to problematic reporting of this crime, which is explained in more detail here. The crime statistics came from the Metro Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Here is a snapshot of the report’s findings:

  • Between 2000 and 2013, the largest declines in aggravated assaults were seen in the following neighborhood clusters: Navy Yard, Barry Farm, Ivy City-Trinidad, downtown-Chinatown and Cardozo-Shaw.
  • Robberies declined the most in the following clusters: Downtown-Chinatown, Near Southeast-Navy Yard, and Dupont Circle-K Street.
  • From 2000 to 2014, the rate of violent crime in the Near Southeast-Navy Yard cluster fell the most of any DC neighborhood. In that same 14-year period, the violent crime rate increased slightly in the following neighborhood clusters: Eastland Gardens-Kenilworth, Deanwood-Lincoln Heights, Mayfair-Hillbrook, and River Terrace-Benning.

  • A record low 88 homicides were reported in 2012, down from a high of 397 homicides in 1996. DC has 90 homicides so far in 2015.

“My biggest takeaway is that while the renaissance in public safety has been helpful, there’s still a lot we can do to build safer communities,” Samuel Bieler, one of the authors of the Urban Institute report, told UrbanTurf. Bieler added that the overall decline is not a reason to rest on our laurels, but to instead change current methods to target those remaining hot spots of crime.

A Look at DC's 14-Year Drop in Crime: Figure 2
The number of robberies in DC over 14 years.

Much of the reduction in violent crime is due to sharp declines in a handful of neighborhoods that previously had high levels of violence. “That success is largely the result of a renewed emphasis on community-oriented policing and evidence-based tactics, as well as changing demographics and economic growth,” stated the study.

That economic growth is best seen in the case of Navy Yard. After World War II, the Navy Yard consolidated much of its campus, which slowed the economic and neighborhood activity in the area. The crime rate shot up as a result.

The renaissance of the neighborhood over the last decade has been well-documented as residences, retail and offices have sprung up. The median price of a home has increased six-fold in the neighborhood over the last 15 years, from $132,000 to $827,000. During that same period, the rate of violent crime fell from 59 crimes for every 1,000 residents to 6 crimes.

“A number of neighborhoods that have seen incredible economic growth now have lower crime rates,” said Bieler. “It’s not the whole story but it helps to give them an abundance of resources. The lesson for the rest of the city is that we need to find way to make sure all neighborhoods can share in this economic growth that DC is experiencing.”

A Look at DC's 14-Year Drop in Crime: Figure 3
The number of homicides in DC over 14 years.

Bieler added that there’s no reason to think that by investing in these areas that crime will simply “be shuffled around.”

“Every single facet of crime is most effectively addressed by the full spectrum of resources,” he said. “Don’t just dump a bunch of police in the area. You provide opportunities to people who may be drawn into underground economy. We should leverage every resource we have and pull every social lever.”

To view the full report, click here.

See other articles related to: crime, crime rate, dc crime, dc crime rate, urban institute

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/crime_remains_a_problem_in_some_dc_neighborhood/10224.

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