With only a few days left in 2011, the District is likely to see fewer murders this year than at any point in the last five decades.
As of Wednesday, the Metropolitan Police Department registered 108 homicides this year to date, an 18 percent drop from the same time in 2010 and the lowest tally since 1963, when 95 people were killed. The milestone caps off two decades of declining murder rates, starting in 1991 when 479 homicides gave the District the inglorious honor of claiming the title as the nation’s murder capital. Last year, the city recorded 132 killings, the same as in 1964.
In recent years, the District’s declining body count has served as something of a barometer on how the city is doing; Mayor Vince Gray has taken to mentioning the historic lows the count has reached, while Police Chief Cathy Lanier remains the most popular public figure in the city.
A few caveats are in order, though. As The Post’s Charles Lane wrote last week, the District isn’t alone in the declines — murders have fallen across the country, dropping from 9.8 killings per 100,000 residents in 1991 to only 4.8 per 100,000 in 2010.
And while murders are down in the District, other crimes are not.
[Continue reading Martin Austermuhle’s post at DCist.com.]