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This is part two of a series about Smarter Public Safety.  Read part one here.

By Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier

Just over 20 years ago, Washington, D.C., was known as the “Murder Capital” of the United States. I was a fairly new officer when we were given this title and believe me, it was not something I was proud of and I committed myself to ensuring I did what I could to change that. Fast forward to a year ago and I can’t tell you how proud I was to announce that our homicide rate has dropped to a 50-year low.

That’s no small feat for a metropolitan area like Washington, D.C. I’ll admit we still have a long way to go, but I’m please to say that we’ve continued to put a dent in our homicide rate. Based on the hard work of our officers and the community, we’ve been able to reduce homicides by 22 percent since this time last year and nearly 75 percent since 1992. Additionally, we have been able to increase our homicide closure rate from 22 percent to nearly 95 percent during the same time period.

It’s successes like this that have changed the face of our nation’s capitol. Once seen as one of the unsafest cities in country, we are now a hub for economic prosperity. Just take a look at some of our more recent accolades:

  • U.S. News and World Report ranked residents of the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area as having one of the highest real incomes in the United States.
  • The Atlantic ranked the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area as being the top spot for recent college graduates to find a job.
  • Gallup ranked Washington, D.C., number one in having the highest well-being among the 52 largest metropolitan areas, those with 1 million or more residents.

I could go on and on about our city’s recent accomplishments, but I believe that our successes in reducing crime has been a key factor in making Washington, D.C., a more economically viable and prosperous city for our residents and companies that call the metropolitan area home.

As I said before, there’s still a lot of work to do, but we’re heading down the right road and I believe that there are much greater things to come for our city.

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