Why Are Crime Stats Down? DC Police Chief Credits Multiple Agencies

WASHINGTON — D.C. police Chief Peter Newsham credits myriad agencies for helping drive down crime statistics in the city that’s on track for one of its lower homicide totals in recent years.

“There’s a whole bunch of reasons crime goes down,” Newsham said. “It encompasses affordable housing for folks, education, substance abuse issues, mental health issues — all of those things contribute to violent crime in our communities.”

Newsham said he and agency directors in charge of those issues are being held accountable by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, and he thinks it’s working.

As of Wednesday, comparing crimes year to date from 2016 and 2017:

  • Robbery: -32 percent
  • Homicides: -17 percent
  • Assault with a dangerous weapon: -21 percent
  • Burglary: -28 percent
  • Motor vehicle theft: -6 percent
  • Theft from auto: -8 percent
  • Theft (Other): +5 percent
  • Arson: -50 percent

Since 2010, the police department’s Summer Crime Initiative has targeted potential problem areas, and Newsham believes it’s been successful so far this summer.

“Getting these illegal firearms out of our community — I think we’re having an impact. The crime numbers would suggest that,” Newsham said.

Newsham made the comments at a Tuesday news conference announcing the arrest of a suspect in last week’s shooting in Northeast that injured a 13-month-old sitting in his stroller.

WTOP’s Neal Augenstein contributed to this report.

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