D.C homicides decrease in 2012

The District had its lowest number of homicides in more than 50 years in 2012, The Washington Post reports, despite a growing population.

“It’s a lot safer now than it used to be,” says one woman.

“I can walk down here and without turning my back,” says another.

The District reported 88 homicides in 2012, according to the Post. It’s a far cry from the 1990s, when D.C. had upwards of 500 homicides annually.

The homicide rate dropped steadily in recent years. In 2011, there were 108 homicides. A few years ago, in 2009, there were 140 killings.

“This is definitely a much safer neighborhood than we had before and I feel like the police care a lot more than they did when we moved into the city in the late nineties,” says Julie Spencer.

“We’re not having multiple homicides like every day,” says Curtis Mozie.

Crime was so intense Mozie, a street videographer, started documenting the lives and deaths of young black men with his camera. He shows them talking about their concerns on one side of the street and in their coffin on the other. He recently wrote a book, “Beyond the Yellow Tape,” on the mayhem on D.C. streets and hopes the videos he shows youth about the pain of violence help.

“These young guys are getting educated now more and more on consequence and hurtness of violence,” he says.

Yet Mozie and people from across the city say police nowadays are more visible and seemingly everywhere and that’s a big factor.

“I moved here in ’99 and every year it’s gotten better and better,” says Ron Kauflin.

In Prince George’s County, homicides are down 35 percent from last year, dropping from 93 murders in 2011 to 60 in 2012. In the suburbs, it remained about the same.

Burglaries in Prince George’s County are also down almost 20 percent from last year, and violent crime has dropped by 7.6 percent. Overall, crime is down 7.6 percent, which equates to roughly 2,200 fewer crimes this year compared with last year at the same time.

Prince George’s County says better coordination between agencies is helping push the crime rate down. In D.C., officials point to a drop in homicides nationwide as one of the reasons for the decline. MPD is also cracking down on gangs and using new technologies to fight crime, the Post reports.

But not all crimes are down in the District. There was an 11 percent increase in gun assaults and a 7 percent increase in assaults with a deadly weapon.