Armed robberies in the District have increased 19 percent this year over the same period in 1979 and have more than doubled during the month of June, D.C. police say.
So far this month, there have been 220 armed robberies, compared to 105 for the first 22 days of June 1979, the officials said. There have been 1,697 armed robberies since the first of the year, compared to 1,426 in the first 5 1/2 months of 1979.
Police said the upsurge in crimes in June is "seasonal" with warmer weather and young adults out of school. The increase over last year also could partially be attributed to the downturn in the area's economy, they said.
However, one high-level police official said, "Because of the budgetary restrictions, we cannot get added manpower so we can only do the best we can with what we got." The district is facing a multimillion budget deficit that has led Mayor Marion Barry to order the layoff of hundreds of city employes, including some policemen and firemen.
Police officials said that the average daily number of major crimes in the city has gone up to 171 compared to about 150 earlier this year.
Of those crimes, about 70 are larcenies, 41 are burglaries and 20 are armed robberies. Most of the rest are homicides, rape, aggravated assaults and auto thefts, the officials said.
Robbery squard detectives said there have been 33 bank holdups compared to 28 by this time last year. Police Capt. Ronald Crytzer said the suspects caught this year "have not been recidivists," indicating a new willingness to rob banks, a crime that has one of the highest arrest rates.
Recent armed robberies in the city have been highlighted by a man who apparently has held up as many as four and possibly six Safeway stores around the District in June.
Police said the bandit, a man believed to be middle-aged, usually picks up expensive steaks from the meat counter and then produces a sawedoff shotgun or a handgun when he reaches the checkout clerk, demands money and takes both cash and steaks.
All the Safeway robberies have occured since May 22 when the bandit held up the store at 3830 Georgia Ave. NW. Since then, robberies occurred May 30 at 522 Seventh St. NW, June 9 at 1730 Hamilton St. NE, June 13 at 3427 Connecticut Ave. NW, June 16 at 1010 Fourth St. SW, and June 20 at 4840 42nd St. NW.