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Fenty's departure coincides with another drop in homicides

By Tim Craig
Tim Craig

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) is on track to leave office Jan 2. having just achieved the fewest yearly number of homicides in decades, probably improving on his administration's success last year in bringing the tally down to 143 killings.



According to statistics supplied by D.C. police, the District has logged 115 homicides this year. At this point last year, there had been 123 homicides, which helped pave the way for the lowest annual total since 1966.



Although the decline is part of a national trend, the drop-off in the District has become symbolic in a city once known as the nation's murder capital. 



During his unsuccessful campaign for reelection against D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray, Fenty (D) often pointed to the declining homicide rate as a sign of the city's progress under his leadership. But to the dismay of some key supporters, Fenty never aggressively pushed the issue through television ads, perhaps denying his campaign a message that had the potential to cross racial and economic lines.



With six weeks remaining until New Years, there's still a chance that this year's total could creep past last year's. But the overall pattern appears set, helping to shape Fenty's legacy.



The District's improving homicide tally could also increase pressure on Gray (D) to reappoint Police Chief Cathy Lanier.

  

While it can be debated whether Lanier's crime-fighting tactics are responsible for the decline, she remains one of the most popular figures in the city, according to recent opinion polls. 



Lanier has had a few stumbles recently, including being criticized for speaking out too soon about the circumstances surrounding a suspicious death outside the DC 9 nightclub on U Street.  And some of Lanier's critics, including the Fraternal Order of Police, note other crime categories have risen even as homicides have declined. But Gray has publicly praised her for being effective, heightening expectations that she will be retained.

By Tim Craig  | November 10, 2010; 5:34 PM ET
Categories:  2010 District Election, Mayor Fenty, Tim Craig, Vincent C. Gray  
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Comments

If Lanier leaves on the heels of Rhee (heck: two less people without color, right, Vince?) the 80% of black voters who put Gray in office deserve to witness a spike in homicides and a contemporaneous collapse in student test scores. DC government: You break it, you bought it.

Meritocracy is dead. So sad.

Posted by: confounded | November 11, 2010 2:01 AM | Report abuse

Tim Craig arguably the worst journalist the WP has ever hired. I mean not an ounce of objectivity or journalistic integrity. A man who is incapable of reporting without interjecting his opinion and slant into every single line of every single story written about Adrian Fenty. I never thought that there was one that could top Rose-Barras or Nakamura, but Tim Craig has earned the crown of top Fenty lap dog.

Gray is not "under pressure" to hire or keep any of Fenty's cabinet members. He is under pressure to hire or rehire ONLY qualified city leaders with demonstrated mastery in their field. This piece is mostly wishful thinking on the part of Craig being masqueraded as fact.

The use of race as a measuring stick has never been used in predominately white cities with predominately white executives and city leadership. It is a double standard being played out in the District that should be wholly ignored by Vincent Gray. The only dipstick that should be used is whether the appointee is qualified to do the job, has the demonstrated skill set to do so and is loyal to the administration of their boss. Gray should not cower to what the WP's limp wrist attempt to undermine his right to select his own cabinet in the same way that they deferred to the choices of Adrian Fenty.

Yet still another story that proves to me that Vincent Gray owes absolutely nothing to the Washington Post as they continue their tirade against his victory and try to manipulate him through poor journalism to have their way even though their guy lost.

So much for a Post endorsement. Now they are working to loose what integrity they have left as a news rag.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | November 11, 2010 2:25 AM | Report abuse

Well said concerned....

Instead of using all your time and energy in disbelief over Fenty's loss, how about an article on how much money Lanier has cost the city in lost lawsuits over the past 8 years. Investigating that... just a little, will give you an idea of why the law enforcement community thinks she is not qualified.

Constantly putting your officers in situations where they can be sued because of following her misguided orders or where they have sued her and won because of her misguided orders is why there is so little respect for her leadership. She listens to no one, regardless of their experience in their respective fields, regardless of their expert classifications, if she is wrong, not even a judge can convince her. Every one of her lost cases must go to the highest court before she admits that she "lost the case". Even then, she says she lost because the citizens on the jury just arent smart enough to understand proper procedure.... everything except "I was wrong", and let me correct this wrong.

THAT is why there is so little support for her. Add to that the fact that officers are no longer allowed to express their opinions (she has effectively silenced them) even in private for fear of her finding out and all of a sudden your assignment and days off have been changed. This shows the vindictive, petty, underhanded ways she has run her department. The same characteristics that had the citizens get rid of Fenty. She was just better at covering up or refusing to answer questions about it with Fenty/Nickles et al behind her taking down any of her detractors.

Well in January, even the Wash Post wont be able to help her keep all of these incidents from the public eye. As in most other Govt agencys... the stories will be coming from all over the place once people know that they wont lose their jobs for speaking the truth or doing the right thing.

Posted by: tformation1 | November 11, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

There's that bragging about declining homicides again. Look, DC homicides have been declining steadily since 1993, under Chiefs Thomas, Soulsby, Ramsey, and now Lanier. Guess what, anybody could be Chief of Police, and the homicide rate would still be decreasing. It's a nationwide phenomenon.

This report at least admits, obliquely, that "other crime categories have risen". Yes, robberies up from 3500 per year under Ramsey to 4000 per year now. How does that jibe with assertions of effective policing?

BTW, anybody who writes "the fewest yearly number" . . . augh. Numbers can be large, or small. Numbers aren't "few", or "many".

Posted by: jamckay | November 11, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

There's that bragging about declining homicides again. Look, DC homicides have been declining steadily since 1993, under Chiefs Thomas, Soulsby, Ramsey, and now Lanier. Guess what, anybody could be Chief of Police, and the homicide rate would still be decreasing. It's a nationwide phenomenon.

This report at least admits, obliquely, that "other crime categories have risen". Yes, robberies up from 3500 per year under Ramsey to 4000 per year now. How does that jibe with assertions of effective policing?

BTW, anybody who writes "the fewest yearly number" . . . augh. Numbers can be large, or small. Numbers aren't "few", or "many".

Posted by: jamckay | November 11, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Crack is not as lucrative as it use to be. Less reasons for murders....STAMPED...not to mention all the ones in jail...

No credit goes to the Police, nor the Mayor.....

Posted by: 4thFloor | November 11, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

murders down, armed robberies and burglaries WAY UP...

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | November 12, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

I think other people have commented well on why this article is a fluff piece.

The article briefly states that, "other crime categories have risen even as homicides have declined." Yes, we should recognize that homicides are down but the fact remains that other violent crimes have risen. Not to mention all of the youth who are under DYRS supervision who are committing crimes and killing people.

It is sad that we are celebrating with all of the crime statistics in DC.

Posted by: letsbereal2 | November 12, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

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