Robberies in the District of Columbia increased 19 percent in the first 10 months of this year compared to the same period last year, as city crime increased 7 percent overall, according to figures released yesterday by D.C. Police Chief Maurice T. Turner.
In releasing the figures, Turner expressed concern about increases in the number of robberies and homicides. He noted that the 182 murders recorded so far this year represent a 16 percent increase over the 158 for the same period in 1980.
Turner linked the high homicide rate to the city's heavy drug traffic and said he was hopeful that the 1,500 arrests made by his narcotics task force since it was created last August would help reduce violent crimes.
He also said he is optimistic that the arrests will have a ripple effect in solving crime. Specifically, he said many of those arrested have become police informants. Turner said some of those informants are drug suspects seeking reduced sentences while others are seeking the $1,000 rewards provided in certain criminal investigations.
Regarding the robberies, Turner said that a department task force is considering stationing of policemen with shotguns in some retail stores.
On the brighter side of the statistical ledger, Turner noted that the rate of increase in crime has slowed recently. Some categories of crime had increased by 12 percent to 22 percent in the first six months of the year, compared to the same months in 1980. The increases were only 7 percent to 8 percent in the last three months. Preliminary figures also indicate November's crime index is 4.6 percent over November 1980, which would make it the lowest monthly increase this year.
Turner also announced the addition of 160 new police officers -- 71 percent black -- who will be sworn in next Monday and undergo 21 weeks of training before starting work in May. The percentage of black police recruits roughly matches the city's affirmative action goal of mirroring the city's racial makeup.