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New FBI crime stats likely to be an issue in D.C. mayor's race

Washington Reporter Jerry Markon reports this afternoon that violent crime was down in the District and nationally in 2009. With crime shaping up a possible issue in this year's race for mayor, look for Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) to quickly latch onto the numbers to try bolster his argument that qualify of life is on the upswing in the District.

According to preliminary figures from the FBI, violent crime was down in the District by 7.2 percent in 2009, from 8,135 to 7,586. The number of murders fell 186 to 143, a drop that Fenty has been heralding in campaign literature.

But the preliminary FBI numbers also give Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray, Fenty's chief opponent in the September Democratic primary, an opening to try to try to diminish the mayor's advantage on crime.

Gray will likely argue that Fenty shouldn't be given a lot of the credit for the apparently safer streets because violent crime is down nationwide.

Markon reports that the FBI figures show violent crime is down 5.5 nationwide. There has also been a 7.2 percent reduction of homicides.

Still, the FBI numbers suggest the District is outpacing the nation both in reductions in homicides and overall violent crime - a potentially potent issue for Fenty on the campaign trail in a city that once held the reputation for the murder capital of the United States.

--Tim Craig

By Tim Craig  |  May 24, 2010; 3:21 PM ET
Categories:  2010 District Election , Mayor Fenty , Tim Craig , Vincent C. Gray  
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