Front Page - Search 

Crime rises as tourist season begins
(Published June 12, 2006)

Crime is rising in the nation's capital as the summer tourist season begins, driven largely by an increase in street robberies and thefts from vehicles, according to new crime report data from the Metropolitan Police Department.

While overall crime has risen only slightly -- 3.7 percent -- on a citywide basis during the first five months of 2006, compared with the same period a year ago, two police districts that include the city's primary tourist areas and entertainment districts have experienced double-digit increases.

Meanwhile, overall crime continues to drop in the city's north-central and easternmost police districts, areas in which much of the District's year-round residential population is concentrated.

The Third Police District -- which includes the Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights, Dupont Circle and Logan Circle areas -- experienced a 25.2 percent spike in overall crime last month, compared with May 2005. Every major crime category registered an increase in May except thefts, which dropped 10.7 percent in the police district.

Overall crime in the Third District has risen 18.9 percent during the first five months of 2006, compared with the same period last year, with property crimes primarily responsible for the increase. Stolen vehicle reports are up 40.9 percent in the police district, while burglaries and thefts from autos have each increased 28 percent this year.

The First Police District -- which includes Capitol Hill, the National Mall and much of downtown Washington -- is the only other area in the city that has recorded an increase in overall crime during the first five months of 2006. Homicide and arson are the only major crime categories that have decreased this year in the First District, where robberies have risen 35.4 percent and thefts from autos have gone up 33.7 percent. Last month, compared with May 2005, overall crime in the First District rose 4.9 percent, driven by a 40.5 percent spike in assaults with a deadly weapon and a 14.9 percent increase in robberies.

Among the city's seven police districts, the Second District in Upper Northwest Washington was the only other area that registered an increase in overall crime during May -- with reported crime rising 3.8 percent overall, despite a 107.7 percent rise in reports of thefts from autos. On the year, overall crime in the Second District has dropped 3.1 percent.

The largest drop in crime during May was recorded in the Fourth Police District. Overall crime was down 13.6 percent, despite a 37.1 percent increase in robberies during the month when compared with May 2005.

Crime dropped nearly as much -- 13.3 percent -- in the Sixth Police District during May. In the Seventh District, overall crime in May was down 6.6 percent. In the Fifth District, overall crime last month decreased 2.6 percent, even though robberies increased by 107 percent.

Citywide, overall reported crime increased 2.3 percent in May with thefts from vehicles rising 18.2 percent and robberies up 17.9 percent.

Copyright 2006 The Common Denominator