Our Changing City: Public Safety

Website by Samuel Bieler, Elizabeth Pelletier, Serena Lei
August 6, 2015

Urban–Greater DC   (Washington, D.C.)

The fourth chapter of the Our Changing City digital feature looks at changes in crime and public safety in Washington, DC. Violent crime has fallen dramatically both nationwide and in DC over the past 20 years. DC's homicide rate has plunged, taking the city far from its days as the nation's "murder capital." And, despite some ups and downs, aggravated assaults and robberies-two major categories of violent crime-are also on the decline. 

However, these improvements have been uneven across the city. Stubborn pockets of violent crime remain unchanged in some neighborhoods, particularly in Northeast and Southeast DC. Tackling this persistent violent crime will require a more holistic public safety approach-one that goes beyond policing to include social services and that emphasizes prevention instead of reaction.