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MPD Chief Lanier: Gun Crimes, Violent Crime Down in 2008

by Borderstan.com January 6, 2009 at 6:47 am 1,135 2 Comments


The Metropolitan Police Department has seven districts citywide. Borderstan is divided between the 2nd District (PSA 208) and the 3rd District (PSA 307).

Borderstanians: This message from MPD Chief of Police Cathy Lanier was posted on Yahoo! Groups on Sunday night, January 4. Chief Lanier provides some interesting, helpful statistics on D.C. crime–and she has some good news.

Happy New Years, everyone. Below some facts on where we ended our year with the help of our committed community members. We ended the year with huge victories on crime:

  • Violent crime down 5% citywide.
  • Biggest crime reduction citywide: MPD’s Fifth District.
  • All gun crimes were down by double digits:
    • Robberies with guns down 12%.
    • Assaults with guns down 14%.

Despite the number of homicides carried under the UCR standard, our year end total for 2008 includes 10 homicides that actually occurred in prior years (see below) leaving us in reality with 1 less homicide than last year. As of  9 p.m. tonight, we have a 75.2% homicide closure rate (but we are still out looking for a couple on open warrants and may increase before midnight). The last year we were even close to this closure rate was 1981 with 74%. This is a direct result of community policing that has closed the gap between police and our community. Thank you all for your support.

Other interesting facts:

  • 2004: 198 homicides, 5 of those from prior years (193).
  • 2005: 196 Homicides, 2 of those from prior years (194).
  • 2006: 169 Homicides and only 1 from a prior year (168).
  • 2007: 181 Homicides, 4 were from prior years (177).
  • 2008: 186 Homicides and 10 are from prior years (176).
    • 1 prior year case was the result of an injury from 1974 (gunshot wound).
    • 1 prior year case was the result of an injury from 1993 (gunshot wound).
    • 8 Prior year cases were the result of injuries from 2007, including the 4 in the Jacks Case.

 Below is an analysis of the offenders arrested in 2008 for homicides:

  • 93% known offenders had a prior arrest
  •  Of those arrested for homicide who had a prior history, we know that:
  • 51% (44 offenders) had a prior gun arrest
  • 62% had a prior drug arrest
  • 60% were arrested within a year prior to the homicide
  • At least 42% were arrested at least once as a juvenile (some juvenile records are unknown)
  • 45% had a prior non-DC arrest
  • 13% were under supervision of CSOSA at the time of the homicide
  • At least 40% were either under supervision of CSOSA or a client of Pre-Trial Services at one time.

– MPD Chief Cathy Lanier


  • Lee

    You published this story last year where Chief Lanier boldly claims that crime is down. Today’s Washington Examiner report citing the FBI contradicts Chief Lanier assertions about the 2008 crime stats. I would love to see some follow up reporting on this. Clearly, this Chief cannot be taken at her word.

    FBI: D.C.’s violent crime up in 2008
    By: Scott McCabe
    Examiner Staff Writer
    September 15, 2009
    D.C. police work the scene of a homicide near the Anacostia Metro station in June of 2008. (Examiner)
    Police Chief Lanier still maintains that it went down

    The number of violent crimes in the District of Columbia increased last year, according to the FBI, contradicting the police department’s claims that violence had fallen substantially in 2008.

    The total number of murders, rapes, robberies and assaults in D.C. rose 2.3 percent last year over 2007, according to an annual FBI crime report released Monday. Property crime in the nation’s capital also increased by 4.5 percent, the FBI said.

    Meanwhile, the rest of the country saw a better trend: Violent crime nationally fell 1.9 percent nationally; property crime dipped 0.8 percent.

    Earlier this year, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier, boasted of “huge victories on crime,” testifying before the D.C. Council that police cut violent crime by 5 percent in 2008.

    Lanier on Monday discounted the FBI’s numbers, saying they “do not reflect crime for the District of Columbia.”

    “Violent crime was down in D.C. last year,” Lanier said.

    Council members said they had not realized that the numbers the police department reported to the FBI would show that violent crime was worse than the previous year.

    “This is quite worrisome,” said Councilwoman Mary Cheh. “We think we’re doing a lot to tamp down violent crime. And yet if it’s rising, we’re not doing enough.”

    Cheh said she’d prefer that the District use the FBI’s classification when reporting its statistics because the Uniform Crime Reporting figures has been the benchmark for decades and is used by the rest of the country.

    Lanier said the department has never tried to downplay the FBI’s numbers. But when The Examiner asked for those numbers in June, Lanier vetoed their release. Kristopher Baumann, chairman of the D.C. police union, said the department for years has played with crime numbers to give residents the impression that the city was safer than it really was. “The public has to be able to believe the police department,” Baumann said. “Right now, that’s not happening.” The apparent contradiction is because the District uses two different classifications when figuring it’s crime totals, the D.C. Code and the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting, according to D.C. police. The systems classify certain crimes differently, police said. Under the D.C. Code, a punch is considered a simple assault; under the FBI’s definition, it’s considered an aggravated assault, or a violent crime, D.C. police said. Staff writer Bill Myers contributed to this report.

    [email protected]

    • mattyillini

      Lee – See this posting. I hope to take a closer look at some of the numbers.


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