The nation’s capital ended the year with a massive spike in homicides. No, D.C., nor any other major city, is seeing crime levels return to that of the 1990s. Nevertheless, it’s a somber statistic for a city whose police force is at its lowest levels in ten years. In all, the city witnessed 162 homicides within its limits, a 54 percent increase (via FoxDC):
On the final day of the year, we asked a community leader, a police officer and the mayor about what is causing all of this violence.
Paul Trantham, an ANC commissioner in Ward 8, represents one of the most violent areas of the District.
“We just had two murders on Hartford Street within the last two days,” he told us.
One of the killings involved 34-year-old Darnell Mayfield. He was the 161st person murdered in D.C. this year.
Tratham is outraged and impassioned about the homicide spike in the city.
He said, “We have had all of these forums. We have had discussion after discussion. And right after we have these discussions, guess what? ‘Boom, boom, boom’ again.
“So many people want to blame the mayor, blame the police, but the police and the mayor are not the ones out here shooting people and killing people. It’s the people within our communities.”
The police union said the violent crime spike causes are complicated but widespread.
“It’s multi-faceted,” said D.C. Police Officer Russell Mullins Jr., executive steward for the DC Police Union. “The rise in homicides can be attributed to across the nation. They are rising everywhere. You have lack of retention in most departments, even in ours.”
D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier's spokespeople declined to comment on the homicide spike.