Misplaced crime priorities in D.C.
By Jack McKay
The Jan. 13 editorial “Don’t stop now” said that the District “is experiencing a historic drop in the crime rate.” Not exactly. Robberies, the crimes of violence that most seriously threaten peaceful, minding-one’s-own-business residents, are up by 4 percent over 2008 and up by 22 percent over 2000. No one’s talking much about the fact that the number of robberies in the District hit a 12-year high in 2009.
Here in Mount Pleasant, there have been three robberies at gunpoint in the past three weeks, far above our norm. And no one here has forgotten Gregory C. Shipe, shot dead as he walked his dog on Irving Street one evening in 2005 in what is believed to be a case of a “robbery gone bad.”
Now The Post says we should address the District’s violent-crime problem by throwing people in jail for the nonviolent crimes of “drinking alcohol, gambling or urinating in public.” But such people are not the ones committing robberies, and jailing them will do nothing to reduce the rate of violent crime. The District does a poor job of solving robberies, with a case-closure rate of 17 percent, compared with a 21.5 percent average for medium-size cities. As long as that is the case and robberies continue to rise, police resources should be devoted to tracking down and jailing violent criminals, not people who are merely “public nuisances.”
The writer is a member of the Ward 1 Advisory Neighborhood Commission.
| January 15, 2010; 7:02 PM ET
Categories: D.C., HotTopic, crime
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