The crime rate in metropolitan Washington is continuing to decrease according to the 2013 Annual Report on Crime & Crime Control released today at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Board of Directors meeting.
Takoma Park Police Chief Alan Goldberg, D.C. Metropolitan Police Assistant Chief Patrick Burke, and Deputy Chief Barry Bernard of the Prince William County Police Department presented the report to the COG Board and noted that the crime rate has dropped from 23.65 crimes per 1,000 persons in 2012 to 23.50 crimes per 1,000 persons in 2013. In 2008, there were 32.18 crimes per 1,000 persons.
Between 2012-2013, robbery (-14.1%), burglary (-18.1%) and motor vehicle theft (-42.1%) accounted for the largest decreases in the region. Property crime as a whole is down 3.3% since last year, and down 12.7% since 2009. Officials noted that rape (+18.65%), aggravated assault (+3.6%) and homicide (+3.7%) saw increases over that same time range. The dramatic increase in the rate of rape offenses committed in the last year reflects a more inclusive definition of the crime, which now includes data for victims under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and age. The increase in the homicide rate over last year is accounted for by the Washington Navy Yard travesty that occurred in September 2013.
The report notes “despite these increases, the metropolitan Washington region continues to be a safe community to visit, live, work, and play.” Takoma Park, Maryland Police Department Chief Goldberg said that thanks to COG’s Police Chief’s Committee and law enforcement sub-committees, traditional law enforcement and special initiatives alike are able to thrive in the Washington area through collaboration. “We don’t see territoriality among jurisdictions in this region,” and that, “we continue to increase efforts to share information and form partnerships in the law enforcement community to increase safety.” The report echoes these initiatives and highlights several efforts to reduce crime such as:
• Traffic enforcement officers across the region through an initiative called, Street Smart, coordinated by COG, which promotes alert driving, cycling and pedestrian activity with an ad-campaign which is paired with an increase in fines for violating traffic laws.
• The Just Ask VA program sponsored by Fairfax County to promote awareness of sex trafficking, features an intervention campaign designed to decrease the numbers of trafficked individuals in the community and has set up a helpline to address this heinous criminal trend.
• Using a mobile phone, individuals can use Text Tips to text the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department and the Metro Transit Police Department to report suspicious activity and other non-emergency situations requiring law enforcement attention 24 hours a day, 7 days week.
• Project LifeSaver brings together jurisdictions in our region to ensure that at risk missing people are found safe as quickly as possible. The program works with the community to identify wander prone individuals such as those with cognitive conditions and outfits them with a location device that can be used in the event of going missing.
To view/download the report, click here.