- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Homicides edged up in 2013 in the District, a year after hitting their lowest mark in more than half a century.

The 103 killings recorded by the Metropolitan Police Department as of Dec. 31 include 12 people gunned down during a September mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard. Without those victims, the city recorded 91 killings — just more than the 88 homicides seen in 2012.

Most jurisdictions around the D.C. area recorded declines.

Prince George’s County had the second-most homicides in the region in 2013.

The county police department investigated 56 slayings — a decline from the 64 cases investigated in 2012. Separate law enforcement agencies investigated another six homicides in the county, bringing the total number of homicides in Prince George’s to 62 this year, according to county police.

Officials from Fairfax and Montgomery counties reported eight killings in 2013.

Fairfax County saw a decrease in killings from the 16 recorded in 2012.

A Montgomery County Police Department spokeswoman said the county also saw a decrease, from 15 homicides in 2012, and added that investigations in seven of this year’s eight homicides have been closed.

“When you have just a handful, it’s more important to understand the facts of each of those cases,” said John Roman, criminologist with the D.C.-based Justice Policy Center. “If you have some sort of tragic murder, a family murder-suicide, you’ve doubled a safe place’s homicide rate.”

Several of the incidents reported in Fairfax County were domestic murder-suicides.

In one incident in Chantilly, a 20-year-old man stabbed his brother and later shot himself. In another, a man shot his 64-year-old mother-in-law before killing himself inside his Falls Church apartment.

Arlington County recorded no homicides this year, after five homicides in 2012.

Alexandria saw just the opposite of Arlington — recording five homicides this year after none in 2012. Police said investigations have closed three of this year’s slayings while detectives continue to investigate the other two deaths — including that of 69-year-old Ronald Kirby, a longtime planner with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments who was found fatally shot in his home in November.

D.C. police were unable to provide the department’s closure rate.

Across the country, major cities like New York and even Chicago — which counted the most homicides of any city in the country last year — have seen major progress this year.

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