WASHINGTON — So far in 2020, at least 156 people were killed in D.C., and 10 of those homicides happened within the past week.
The number signifies at least an 18% increase in homicides when compared to this time in 2019.
This violence represents an alarming spike in killings happening across the country in 2020.
The National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice looked at crime data from 27 cities and found homicides were 53% higher in the summer of 2020 compared to 2019.
Aggravated assaults went up about 14% nationally. However, in D.C., most violent crimes are down or have stayed about the same.
The nonpartisan criminal justice think tank that released the report recognized the spike in homicides is happening at the same time the nation is grappling with the coronavirus pandemic and protests calling for racial equality and police reform.
Community leaders in the District said the effects of the pandemic and social unrest have made it difficult to mediate conflict before things turn violent.
“Before the pandmic really hit, we were really onto something special, even in our neighborhoods, reducing the violence,” Clayton Rosenberg, with the Alliance of Concerned Men, said. As the pandemic hit, less of us are seen by the community. Less of us are not able to talk to these individuals who are considered high risk. So, for us, it’s been really difficult.”
Rosenberg said community organizers need more resources from the government and corporations to reach people.
The National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice believe that overcoming the pandemic, following effective crime control strategies, and passing needed police reforms will be necessary to reduce violent crimes and homicides across the country.