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Area homicides fell in 2009, report says

Homicides in the Washington metropolitan area dropped 23 percent last year, according to a report a regional governing body released Wednesday.

The decline helped drive an overall slide of 8 percent in reported serious crimes – including homicides, rapes, robberies, assaults and certain property crimes, according to the analysis of 2008 and 2009 data by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

Police officers work a crime scene in Northeast D.C. in October 2009. (Ricky Carioti/Post)

The trend was found in each of the three regional jurisdictions – Washington, and the Maryland and Virginia suburbs.

“As the economy continued to deteriorate, we were all worried that we would see a corresponding rise in crime,” Alexandria Mayor William Euille said in a statement. “This report indicates otherwise.”

Northern Virginia showed the sharpest decline in homicides at 28 percent, followed by the District at 23 percent and the Maryland suburbs at 21 percent. In 2009, the Virginia region had 36 homicides, D.C. had 143 and the Maryland region had 107.

There were a total of 143,568 serious crimes reported across the D.C. region in 2009, the report said, down from 156,025 in 2008. Just four of the 20 jurisdictions included in the study bucked the decline, led by Bowie with 12 percent more serious crime, Manassas Park with 8 percent more, Takoma Park with 3 percent and Manassas with 2 percent.

The report attributed the findings in part to the increased use of technologies including GPS in police cruisers, automated license plate readers and the Law Enforcement Information Exchange, a data-sharing system launched in 2007 that allows departments to quickly retrieve mug shots and crime reports.

Read the Council of Governments report in PDF format.

-- Mike McPhate

By Washington Post Editors  |  July 15, 2010; 9:50 AM ET
Categories:  Crime Statistics , Maryland , The District , The Region , Virginia  
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It is important to note that while overall homicide rates may have decreased, in 2009, domestic violence homicides in the District increased by 5%. MPD Chief Cathy Lanier publicly expressed her concern about this increase. In 2009, MPD receive more than 31,000 domestic-related calls - 1 every 17 minutes. We must recognize the scourge of domestic violence in our community and work together to end it. For support, visit:

Posted by: RW14 | July 15, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Let us see. What happened...Hmmmm. DC home owners are allowed to have weapons again, and concealed carry permits increase in VA. Then crime drops. Guess it must have been GPS and technology. Yeah, that's it.

Posted by: Dirty_Ferrel | July 15, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

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