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The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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PAUL closes in Western Market
By Ella Mitchell, Staff Writer • April 22, 2024

D.C. totals 200 homicides in 2020, marking a 16-year high

Hatchet File Photo
Fifty-nine hate crimes were reported in the Second District last year compared to six in 2013, according to the MPD data.

The District’s 200 homicides made 2020 the deadliest year in D.C. in more than a decade, according to a Washington Post report and Metropolitan Police Department data.

More than 920 people have been shot in D.C. in 2020, a 64 percent increase over the past three years during which homicides have steadily risen to reach the city’s highest count since 2004, The Post reported. MPD data shows that only eight homicides occurred in Ward 2, illustrating a stark divide in the city’s crime distribution, with Wards 7 and 8 accounting for more than half of all homicides.

Homicides started to surge over the summer when the city passed 100 in July and continued to build into the fall, hitting 170 in November. The city’s homicide totals had been steadily decreasing for a 25-year period until 2015, when killings spiked and progressed into the years ahead, DCist reported.

Much of the United States has also seen a crime surge throughout 2020. Time reported that 19,000 people across the country were killed last year, the highest national count in 20 years.

A report by the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice found that there were 610 more homicides in 21 cities this summer and fall compared to last year, with increases in aggravated assaults and gun assaults.

D.C. professionals and volunteers dealing with homicides have provided a multitude of explanations for the rise, attributing the trend to a lack of economic opportunity, rising rent and increasing tension with the police, Washington City Paper reported last January.

“Unequal access to opportunity derives from inadequate education, health care and housing,” the report states. “Frustration that comes from a lack of opportunity only intensifies when D.C. is rapidly changing and some are disconnected or excluded.”

Acting MPD chief Robert Contee said during a press conference last month that the city’s current crime rate is “unacceptable,” and he pledged that MPD would take action to hold offenders accountable.

“I know there are many families in our communities that seek justice for loved ones that have been victims of violence, and I assure you that the Metropolitan Police Department will be relentless in our pursuit of criminals that make communities unsafe,” he said.

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