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Tipsheet

There's Something Wrong With the Latest Poll on DC Crime

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

If mental health issues aren’t skyrocketing in Washington, DC, then drug use is more rampant than ever if this poll is remotely accurate. Over 75 percent of DC residents say they’ve never felt safer in the capital, which has seen historic spikes in crime. It’s become so bad that a revamped crime bill that was generally pro-criminal was vetoed by Mayor Muriel Bowser, which is how you know it was off the rails. No one is safe, with even Prius drivers getting their vehicles carjacked. And yet, the residents of this hellhole seem to think all is well (via WaPo) [emphasis mine]: 

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As federal lawmakers rejected D.C.’s bid to overhaul its criminal code, they described the city as awash in violent crime. But D.C. residents feel safer from crime in their neighborhoods than they did this time last year, according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll. 

More than three-quarters of Washingtonians (77 percent) feel they are “very” or “somewhat” safe from crime in their neighborhoods, up from 69 percent in 2022 and about the same percentage as in November 2019, before the pandemic. 

In the Maryland and Virginia suburbs of D.C., residents on average feel even safer — with 86 percent of people in the suburbs in Maryland and 94 percent of people in Northern Virginia saying they feel safe in their neighborhoods. 

But crime is still top of mind across the region. The poll shows that the issue of crime and safety narrowly beats out housing costs as the top concern for residents in the District and does so by a wider margin in Prince George’s County. D.C. and Prince George’s have experienced rising homicide numbers and surges in car thefts. 

Violent crime in the nation’s capital has fallen by 9 percent from the same time last year, despite a 32 percent increase in homicides from over 2022, according to D.C. police data as of Thursday. The dip in violent crime has largely been driven by a falling number of robberies. Property crime in D.C., however, has increased by 32 percent since last year — with a 109 percent increase in car thefts. The Post-Schar School poll finds about 2 in 3 D.C. residents (66 percent) are “very concerned” about gun violence in the area, while about half (48 percent) say the same about carjackings.’

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This poll doesn’t make sense. How was it framed? I’m starting to think that many people didn’t understand the questions. You cannot have 77 percent thinking the city is safe, but 66 percent worried about local gun violence and nearly half having high anxiety over carjackings. The opening paragraph tries to undercut the narrative that DC is awash in crime; it is. Hence, 66 percent of people are anxious about the rising gun violence. My best guess is that white liberals are worried about rising crime but don’t want to add the narrative about law and order, which helps Republicans, so they lied on the survey. Because most local news reports have touched upon how the city is becoming less safe, less secure, and more dangerous in recent years. And yes, residents are worried.

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