Washington, D.C., experienced 12 homicides as of Jan. 17, more than double the number reported at this time in 2018, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.
The homicide data follows the deadliest year in D.C. in a decade, with the exception of 2015, according to MPD’s website.
Increases in the District’s homicide numbers do not typically affect Georgetown because of the low frequency of crime in Ward 2, according to Georgetown University Police Department Chief Jay Gruber. GUPD has not yet released its crime statistics for 2018, but a 2017 report shows there were no homicides in the area.
The rise in homicides in the D.C. area can be attributed to an increased use of guns in crimes, according to MPD Deputy Communications Director Kristen Metzger. Most homicides occurred as a result of disputes between acquaintances, according to Metzger.
“The rise in homicides are a result of the frequent use of guns in crimes and more fatal outcomes when a shooting occurs,” Metzger wrote in an email to The Hoya. “The majority of homicides in DC are a result of petty disputes between known parties where a gun is introduced, which leads to someone being killed.”
D.C.’s 160 homicides in 2018 were concentrated in District Wards 5, 7 and 8. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) provided additional resources to District Wards 7 and 8 in response to the rise in violent crime, according to a May 28 news release. As a result of Bowser’s actions, MPD increased its staffing levels by 25 percent in the Wards 6 and 7, and resources from non-law enforcement agencies were deployed around each ward.
The District will continue its partnership with local law enforcement in an effort to reduce the number of homicides in 2019, according to Bowser.
“With precision policing targeted at illegal guns and repeat violent offenders; with strengthened resolve of our federal law enforcement partners; and with a focus on greater economic opportunity, we will reverse this year’s homicide spike in our city,” Bowser said in a Jan. 2 news release.
The Georgetown community has experienced instances of violent crime in the past. In Oct. 2018, a woman was shot while she was sitting in the passenger seat of a car at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Water Street in Georgetown, sustaining injuries that were not life-threatening. The shooting was not random, according to Dustin Sternbeck, MPD communications director.
MPD encourages D.C. residents to be vigilant and report all suspicious activity to prevent crime, according to MPD Public Affairs Specialist Alaina Gertz.
“It has always been a priority that DC Police safeguard the District and we will continue to do so,” Gertz wrote in an email to The Hoya. “Residents of the District are urged to be vigilant and follow the motto, ‘If you see something, say something.’”