The District is on pace to record fewer than 200 homicides for the second year in a row, continuing a decade-long decline in the city's rate of deadly violence, police statistics show.
Through mid-June, the city had 78 killings, down from 84 during the same period last year. Overall violent crime -- which includes rapes, robberies and assaults with deadly weapons -- has declined 10 percent.
D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey credited targeted and sophisticated crime-fighting tactics for the drop. "It's been a combination of things," Ramsey said this week. "It's just being aggressive and relentless in dealing with crime."
Criminologists have said that societal factors -- including a better economy, higher housing prices and the waning of the crack wars -- probably are playing a significant role in the District's decline in crime and killings.
In 1993, the city recorded 454 homicides. That number has dropped steadily since then, with 198 slain last year -- the first time the city recorded fewer than 200 homicides since 1986, just before crack swept through many urban areas. At the current pace, the city would record about 172 killings this year.
While crime overall has declined through mid-June, the most recent period for which statistics are available, some neighborhoods experienced spikes in different offenses. In the next few months, police said, they plan to increase patrols and use undercover officers to tackle those increases and other crimes that traditionally rise in summer. Also, police district commanders have developed plans for preventing and combating crimes in their areas. Officers in most of the districts, for example, will help run youth summer camps.
Although overall crime dropped 18 percent, homicides rose slightly.
Through June 16, 11 people had been killed in the district, up from 10 through the same period last year.
In addition to tracking homicide trends, Cmdr. Thomas McGuire said, he plans to deploy more officers to attack auto thefts and thefts from cars, crimes that typically increase in the summer, McGuire said.
He also said police will strictly enforce the city's curfew laws to get juveniles off the streets. Police also will conduct basketball and chess tournaments, McGuire said.
Assaults rose 33 percent through mid-June, but overall crime dropped 16 percent.
Cmdr. Robert Contee said police would step up patrols in commercial areas to discourage muggings, which generally are more prevalent during the summer.
Police have deployed several officers on Segways, two-wheel electric vehicles, to help them cover more ground, Contee said.
Overall crime dropped 10 percent, with only thefts from cars showing an increase. Homicides are even with last year, with six people slain in the district.
Police have not made any arrests in one of the year's most high-profile slayings: the fatal shooting of 9-year-old Donte Manning as he played outside his apartment in March. Police have increased the reward in the case to $80,000, but have received few solid tips, they said.
Cmdr. Larry McCoy said officers will concentrate on preventing thefts, burglaries and robberies during the summer. Officers will hold a "bicycle rodeo" July 23 that will include safety seminars and obstacle courses, McCoy said.
Thefts from cars have increased 17 percent, although overall crime is down 16 percent.
Cmdr. Hilton Burton said each patrol service area would have at least one officer on bicycle patrol. Uniformed and undercover police also will crack down on open-air drug markets, Burton said.
Robberies increased 14 percent, and overall violent crime rose 2 percent.
Cmdr. Jennifer Greene said police would increase traffic checkpoints in affected areas to gather information about the robberies and other violent crime. Police plan to hold at least one seminar designed to help senior citizens avoid being victimized by thieves.
In January, 76-year-old Aloysius R. Clarke apparently was struck on the head during a daytime robbery outside a Brookland bank. Clarke died a week later. Police have made no arrests in the case and believe the killing was connected to several other robberies in the area.
Assaults, robberies, overall violent crime and burglaries increased through mid-June. Auto thefts, a crime that traditionally has plagued the district, plummeted 44 percent, helping drive down the city's overall auto theft rate by 29 percent.
Cmdr. Robin Hoey said he plans to dispatch more officers on bicycles and motorcycles into crime-plagued areas.
To combat a rise in domestic assaults, police and probation agents will require offenders to visit the 6th District station for a "call-in" later this month. At the session, police and probation agents will discuss issues involving domestic violence and will offer stern warnings to the offenders about future prosecution, Hoey said.
Homicides increased from 24 to 27, and police recorded an 11 percent spike in robberies. Overall crime dipped 8 percent, police said.
Cmdr. Joel Maupin said he was putting more officers on foot beats and adding motorcycle patrols in high-crime areas.
Officers also will conduct traffic checkpoints to gather information about homicides and other crimes, Maupin said.
Police plan to hold several ice cream social events aimed at young people. Each week, police will show movies for youths on a big-screen television, Maupin said.
For more information about programs or how to reach officers in the seven police districts, go to www.mpdc.dc.gov, or call 202-727-4383.