Region Forward Blog

Sustainable Communities Must Be Safe Communities

Sep 15, 2011
Region Forward

Even as metropolitan Washington’s population continues to increase rapidly – growing by about 15 percent in the past ten years – crime in the region has decreased markedly. This is an incredibly important fact because no matter how hard we push to make the region better if the crime trend were pointing in the opposite direction other improvements would perhaps deservedly fade into to the background.

According to the Annual Report on Crime & Crime Control crime rates in the region decreased in almost every category in 2010: motor vehicle thefts decreased by 9.7% aggravated assault by 7.1% larceny by 5.7% homicide by 5.6% robbery by 4.5% and rape by 1.9%. The only “Part 1” category (crimes against persons and property) to experience an increase was burglary which jumped by 1.5% over 2009 rates. Total offenses comprised of violent and property crimes were dropped from 143568 to 135974 a 5.3% reduction from 2009 levels.

Graph shows that even as metropolitan Washington continues to experience dramatic population growth the crime rate continues to decrease as dramatically. Annual Report on Crime & Crime Control MWCOG 2010.

In seeing a 5.59% reduction in violent crime metro Washington is on par with the reductions seen in the nation as a whole (5.5%) though our reduction in property crime in 2010 (5.2%) is almost twice the national average (2.8%).

What’s even more striking is the comparison to the Northeastern United States. As mentioned above while metro Washington experienced a 5.59% and 5.2% reduction in violent and property crime respectively the Northeast region as a whole only saw reductions of 0.4 and 0.5 percent for violent and property crime.

Reducing crime is a key target for Region Forward because as was noted earlier even remarkable improvements in transportation housing or environmental quality are likely to be forgotten if people don’t feel safe in their communities. Sustainable communities have to be safe communities.

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