From Cody Telep. Follow him on Twitter @codywt, email him at cody[AT]borderstan.com.
Homicide Watch reported that the January 26 stabbing death of Dalontray Williams in the 1500 block of 7th Street NW (see Homicide on 7th Street NW Thursday Night) has now been classified as “justified by citizen.”
As a result, the death will no longer be included in the Metropolitan Police Department’s homicide statistics for the year, and the Borderstan coverage area now has zero recorded homicides for the year.
Sources told Homicide Watch that Williams was involved in a fight that led to his stabbing. Exact details on the reason for the justifiable homicide classification were not available. The U.S. Attorney’s Office did convene a grand jury to investigate the case, but no charges were pursued.
As Homicide Watch noted, justifiable homicide cases are not very common in the District, although the Williams case is the third in recent months to be classified by DC Police as justified by citizen.
Justifiable homicides by citizens are a fairly rare occurrence nationally as well, based on the Uniform Crime Report definition of justifiable homicide, which involves “killing of a felon, during the commission of a felony, by a private citizen.”
In 2010, 278 justifiable homicides by citizens were reported to the FBI, 30 of which involved a knife. It is not clear if the Williams case meets the FBI definition.
Homicides Rare in Neighborhood
Homicides within Borderstan’s coverage area are rare, especially in the Dupont-Logan-U Street area. Only one occurred in 2011 (although a second occurred adjacent to Borderstan’s boundaries) and five homicides were recorded in Borderstan in 2010.
Over the past 20 years the number of homicides in DC has dropped more than 75% after peaking at 479 in 1991. This homicide decline is not unique to DC, but the magnitude of the drop is impressive, even compared to national numbers. From 1991 to 2010, homicides nationally decreased about 40%. The number of homicides in DC dropped from 132 in 2010 to 108 in 2011, the lowest number since 1963.
According to the MPD Crime Database, there have been 27 homicides in DC for the January 1 through May 6 period; this compares to 34 for the same period of 2011. Overall crime in DC is up 5% this year as of May 6 from 2011.