May 18, 2006

Murder Capital Becomes Robber-Town

First the good news: Murders are down by about 13% May 17, 06 vs. May 17, 05.

Now the bad: Robberies are up. For the third consecutive month robberies were up and the year-to-date total is up almost 10 percent in 2006 compared with 2005. As of April there were 1,177 robberies year to date. And they are up almost 19 percent for the month of April year over year.

The changing crime mix from headline-grabbing, drug-driven double and triple homicides to plain-old stick ups is one bad aspect of DC becoming more affluent, which of course is a good thing.

But does the growing trend of more robberies threaten the DC revival?

If we trade, the moniker murder capital for robber-town or whatever in the headlines there is the risk that people will be scared away. Part of the reason, the DC market was undervalued all those years was the high murder rate, but a high robbery rate would be just as bad for reviving the city and for property values. Greater visibility by the Metropolitan Police Department seems like part of the answer and that means the cops have to get out of their cruisers and walk the streets.

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