- The Washington Times - Monday, December 13, 2010

A violent weekend in Washington, D.C., in which five people were shot, one fatally, in one incident and another person was killed in a separate shooting capped off a 30-day period in which all categories of violent crime in the nation’s capital increased over the past year.

Internal department documents obtained by The Washington Times contain preliminary police statistics that say 11 homicides were recorded in the past 30 days compared with nine over the same period last year. The 348 robberies were up from 342 in 2009. Assaults jumped from 187 last year to 202 this year, and sexual assaults increased from nine last year to 21 this year.

While the jump in crime rates over the past 30 days was modest, it remains significant because it runs counter to recent trends in the city. Virtually all categories of violent crime — homicides, assaults and robberies — are either unchanged or lower in the District for the year to date than for last year. The only notable increase in violent crime is in sexual assaults, which are up from 137 last year to 200 so far this year, according to the preliminary statistics.

While it accounted for the smallest number of violent crimes, the biggest percentage increase over the past 30 days compared with the same period last year was in the 2nd Police District — which includes the Northwest neighborhoods of Chevy Chase, Cleveland Park, Foggy Bottom and Georgetown. Police say 60 violent crimes have occurred in those neighborhoods compared with 42 over the same period last year, a 43 percent jump. A spike in assaults, from nine last year to 23 this year, fueled the increase in the 2nd District.

Kristopher Baumann, chairman of the labor committee that represents Metropolitan Police officers, said the department should be doing more to publicize the crime increase. He said people can take steps to prevent being victimized if they are aware that crimes such as robberies and sexual assaults are up in certain areas.

“Why aren’t we actively reaching out to the public and saying, ‘Hey, listen, this is what you need to be doing’?” he said.

Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier could not be reached for comment.

The largest number of violent crimes in the past 30 days occurred in the 6th Police District, in Northeast and Southeast, which recorded 105. That number is slightly below the 108 violent crimes that occurred in the 6th District over the same period last year.

But the 6th District was the scene of a weekend shooting spate in Southeast in which five people were hit, one fatally. Police say they responded to the 1700 block of 14th Street in Southeast and found a man inside a vehicle. The man was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

While on the scene of the shooting, officers got a second call for gunshot victims in the 1400 block of Ridge Place in Southeast, where they found three more victims with gunshot wounds. Shortly afterward, police say, a fifth victim entered a hospital suffering from a gunshot wound and said he was shot at the same location as the others.

No arrests have been made in connection with the shootings.

On Sunday, police said, James Campbell, 25, of Bladensburg, Md., was found fatally shot in the 2900 block of Southern Avenue in Southeast.

The department documents obtained by The Times said that in addition to the two homicides, 25 robberies and 24 assaults were reported over the weekend.

Even with the recent uptick in violence, the city is poised to record its second year of declines in homicides. As of Monday, 127 killings had been reported compared with 137 at this time last year. The District finished last year with 143 homicides, the fewest since 1964.

It remains unclear whether the improved numbers will be enough to keep Chief Lanier, an early appointee of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, in her job. Mayor-elect Vincent C. Gray has yet to discuss her status in the incoming administration.