DC Officials Blast ‘Significant’ Homicide Spike, Demand Answers


Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Steve Birr Vice Reporter
Font Size:

Local residents are demanding answers to the rising homicide rate in Washington, D.C., and the apparent “revolving door” for criminal offenders.

Local officials and neighborhood leaders discussed the disturbing trend in the District and surrounding suburbs Wednesday, which all experienced large increases in annual homicides in 2015. The rate spiked 54 percent in D.C. and rose in neighboring counties in Virginia and Maryland. Montgomery County, Virginia suffered 12 more homicides in 2015 over the previous year while Prince George’s County, Maryland experienced 28 over 2014 numbers. Officials in the District partly blame what many see as a revolving door for offenders, which puts violent criminals back on the streets, reports WTOP.

District officials with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments blamed the rise in regional murders on gang violence and illegal firearms at the meeting Wednesday.

“We’ve had illegal firearms for decades, so what’s different about last year,” Phil Medelson, chairman of the D.C. Council, asked at the meeting, according to WTOP.

Many local neighborhood leaders feel the startling jump in homicides last year needs a better explanation than the usual problems of gangs and guns on the streets. Cathy Lanier, who retired from her role as chief of police Thursday, said the convoluted justice system does not help the situation. Lanier lamented an incident earlier this month where a man supposedly wearing a GPS tracker under house arrest went on a crime spree. (RELATED: DC Police Chief Fed Up With Criminal Revolving Door, Lack Of Action)

“The criminal justice system in this city is broken,” Lanier told The Washington Post. “You can’t police the city if the rest of the justice system is not accountable.”

The suspect in a double stabbing Tuesday morning on Capitol Hill was already a criminal offender and had his probation revoked the week earlier for failing to show for eight drug tests. Officers with the MPD stopped the suspect several times over the weekend but did not have information showing his revoked parole status, reports NBC Washington.

“My children go to school close by,” Jennifer Samolyk, an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in the area of the stabbing, told NBC4. “I mean, it’s a tight-knit community over here and just … an unprovoked stabbing – hearing something like that – it’s just jarring and shocking.”

The homicide rate in the District is only 11 percent lower so far this year from the 54 percent rise in 2015. Homicides have tripled in Ward 7.

D.C. is suffering a violent year overall, with 98 homicides across the city. The alarming surge in homicides is down from the shocking numbers in 2015, but is still historically high. There were a total of 105 homicides in 2014 and 88 in 2012.

“Sometimes, we just scratch our heads,” Lanier told The Washington Post in May. “We feel like there’s a revolving door for violent offenders. It’s very frustrating for us because we see the victim, and we see the impact on the victim.”

Officials from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments are reviewing the regional crime statistics in an effort to spot trends driving recent violence.

Follow Steve on Twitter

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact