A Fatal Summer in Washington

By Washington Post, Washington Post - August 30, 2015

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) on Thursday outlined a mix of legislative, budgetary and administrative measures to combat violent crime. More police on the streets. Incentives for businesses to install security cameras. New community partnerships. Better job training. Stricter supervision of violent offenders. In short, there is something to please — or, as the mayor discovered when she was shouted down by Black Lives Matter protesters, offend — everyone. The proposals now need to be fleshed out and examined by the D.C. Council. We hope there will be thoughtful discussion that is focused on what has the best chance of long-term success rather than what is — or isn’t — politically popular. The District, like other cities across the country, has this year experienced an unexpected spike in killings. The 105 homicides, recorded as of early Saturday, equal last year’s total with four months still left in the year, but the numbers thankfully are a far cry from the awful years of the 1990s when year-end totals topped 400. Officials have struggled to come up with answers, in part because there are likely a multitude of factors — as well as a lot of unknowns — in the rise and fall of crime. The rise in crime this year is no better understood than the reasons the District experienced a homicide low of 88 in 2012. Police statistics provide some insights into this year’s violence: instances of repeat violent offenders in shootings and homicides, the increase in multiple guns or high capacity magazines and the use of lethal means to settle the most petty of disputes.

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