A Look at the DC Murder Statistic Trump Cited

The murder rate in Washington, D.C. is down 9 percent if you look at the data one way, but up 54 percent if you take another view.

As Donald Trump declared himself "the law and order candidate" in his GOP nomination acceptance speech Thursday night, he called out the number of homicides in D.C.

"In our nation's capital, killings have risen by 50 percent," he said.

That's true if you compare the 2014 total to the 2015 total: 162 people died in homicides in D.C. in 2015, marking a 54 percent increase from the 105 people killed in 2014, Metropolitan Police Department statistics show.

More people were killed in D.C. in 2015 than had been killed in a single year since 2008.

But the number of homicides in D.C. this year so far has dropped 9 percent compared with the same period last year, from 77 to 70, police data shows. 

072216 dc homicide chart
NBC Washington

Mayor Muriel Bowser spoke with News4 about crime Friday afternoon, standing in front of the Old Post Office Pavilion building that Trump is renovating into a luxury hotel. 

"Political cheap shots are not uncommon, and so, what I want to be clear about is that nobody comes to D.C. to cherry-pick the numbers," she said. 

Bowser said there is no one answer to why crime spiked in 2015 but that District officials have created multiple programs to try to reduce violence.

"I just launched a new initiative, for example, to attract more police officers who are D.C. residents, and by expanding our cadet program," she said. "We also worked with our communities to put out 1,200 security cameras."

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a statement in response to Donald Trump’s claim that killings in D.C. have increased 50 percent. News4’s Chris Lawrence and Tom Sherwood report.

On Thursday night, Bowser issued this comment on Trump's remarks: "People all over the globe are flocking to the District for opportunity. Mr. Trump should know: he's making a multimillion-dollar investment in revitalizing a hotel on one of our main boulevards.

"We know we can do even better, and that's why each and every day, our residents and police officers work together to drive down crime. Americans deserve a president who will make herself a part of the solution."

Trump also spoke Thursday night about President Barack Obama's impact on the murder rate across the country.

"Decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement. Homicides last year increased by 17 percent in America’s 50 largest cities. That’s the largest increase in 25 years," he said.

Trump correctly cited a 17 percent increase in homicides in major cities for 2014 to 2015, but the numbers of murders in these cities have dropped dramatically since the 1990s, FactCheck.org reported.

"Snapshots are not trends. And two or three years of data are far too few to establish a trend," Richard A. Berk, professor of criminology and statistics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, told FactCheck.org.

Contact Us