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Record-Low Homicides for District

1/4/2013, 1:01 p.m.

Mayor Vincent. C. Gray and Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier recently announced that the number of homicides reported last year in the District represents the lowest record since 1961.

Having recorded 88 murders for 2012, the total not only represents a benchmark not reached in half a century, but highlights a significant four-year drop in homicides.

"This represents a tremendous milestone for public safety in the District," said Mayor Vincent C. Gray. "However, one murder is always going to be one too many. It does not matter where it occurs in the city; we must continue to work together as a city to reduce violence and crime in all four quadrants."

No longer the nation's "murder capital," D.C.'s number of homicides is dropping at a faster pace than the national average. The figure stands in stark contrast to the number of homicides during the crack-cocaine epidemic of the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the District's annual murder total topped 400 for several years in a row.

Lanier said she always felt that having fewer than 100 homicides District-wide was an achievable goal. "We had to get to a tipping point where it was clearly understood -- as both a city and a police department -- that we could reduce the number of homicides," said Lanier. "We are now at that point, and our mentality has sent a clear message to the criminal population."