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VERIFY: Do homicide suspects in DC have an average of 11 prior arrests?

Are Chief Contee's numbers correct?

WASHINGTON — Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department Robert J. Contee III made a comment last week that blew up online.

“The average homicide suspect has been arrested 11 times prior to them committing a homicide. That’s a problem,” Contee said.

But is that true?


Is it true that the average homicide suspect in D.C. has 11 prior arrests?



This is true.

Yes, Chief Contee’s claim is true.


According to police records, on average, a homicide suspect today has been arrested 11 previous times.

To many people online, that number seemed high, but Contee didn’t offer a lot of context. So we dug deeper to find out how today’s numbers compare to the past.

Turns out, prior arrests haven’t always been that common.

In 2001, DC Police reported that the average homicide suspect had 5.3 prior arrests – that’s less than half of the new normal. In fact, having 11 prior arrests was rare 20 years ago, with only 11% of homicide suspects reaching today’s average.

We can also confirm that as of today, homicides are up 25% compared to this time last year.

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