DC TRENDS: JUSTICE BACK TO MAIN DC TRENDS PAGE
FEW D.C. CONVICTS GET DRUG TREATMENT
BRENDAN SMITH, LEGAL TIMES - The Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, the federal agency that runs the [reentry] center, monitors more than 15,000 parolees and probationers in the District. At least 70 percent of the offenders are addicted to drugs, but CSOSA has funding to treat only one in four who need help.
With more than 2,000 former inmates returning from prison each year to the District, the shortage of drug treatment threatens public safety by contributing to more street crime. Many studies across the country have shown that expanded and well-managed treatment programs for offenders reduce rates of recidivism. . .
The D.C. government had an abysmal record of treating or even keeping track of probationers and parolees because of a lack of oversight and needed funding. Congress took action in 1997 and created CSOSA to take over those duties. . .
Offenders who don't receive treatment from CSOSA can be referred to the D.C. Addiction Prevention and Recovery Administration, a division of the D.C. Health Department, but they must pay up to $70 a week for their treatment, and it often takes months to find a placement. . .
Local faith-based groups and nonprofits provide some limited drug-treatment services, but they don't receive any payment from CSOSA. Offenders who are veterans also may get help from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. . .
CSOSA filed more than 9,500 violation reports for offenders last fiscal year. For parolees, 75 percent of the violations were drug-related, compared to 65 percent for probationers.
This chart shows what has happened to murder in DC in the years since a handgun ban was passed. Gun deaths first rose, then declined slightly before soaring thanks to the war on drugs. By the early 1990s the drug market had matured, the number of youths had dropped dramatically and there was better policing. As a result the murder rate dropped. There is no evidence the gun ban was a factor in any of this. The factor that seemed to have affected the murder rate most: the war on drugs, especially in a town without strong mob organization where local dealers fought easily over turf. Once the market had matured, the murders started to decline aided by a massive drop in the number of crime-age youths.
This chart shows who was likely to be murdered in DC according to a detailed analysis done in the 1980s. In short, it was virtually impossible to be killed in Washington if you were a young white girl living in upscale Georgetown on an early Thursday morning in July. If, on the other hand, you were a young black 20-year-old male living in low-income Anacostia, dealing drugs on a Saturday night in June, your chances of being killed were far greater than the overall statistics would suggest. And if you were not buying or selling drugs at all, your chances of being killed in DC were about the same as in Copenhagen. All these people lived in the same city with the same number of guns.
FOX NEWS REPORTS that some cops are making over $200,000 a year thanks to overtime, more than either the mayor of Chief Ramsey. Cost to the city: $36 million. 2/06
Out of some 30,000 lawyers in the DC bar, only about 100 are working fulltime for the poor
Nearly three of every four adult homicide victims in the District last year had an arrest history, according to an analysis of court records that casts new light on why the city has one of the highest homicide rates in the country.
EVIDENCE OF POLICE HARASSMENT
[Some years back, the Review revealed an sizable leap in minor arrests, including traffic stops, in the nation's capital. The increase occurred during a time when the federal government had taken over the city and the latest gentrification drive was just underway. We speculated that if you wanted to engage in the socio-economic cleansing of a city, this was one good way to do it. Now the local citizen complaint review board has come up with similar stats involving disorderly conduct arrests.]
OFFICE OF CITIZEN COMPLAINT REVIEW - The number of disorderly conduct arrests made by MPD officers grew from 6,616 in 1995 to 10,600 in 2000. In addition, the rate of disorderly conduct arrests per 100,000 residents in the District increased by approximately 60% from 1,157 in 1995 to 1,853 in 2000. . . Over the same period, the rate of all arrests increased only by approximately 7% from 7,524 in 1995 to 8,028 in 2000, and the rate of all arrests except disorderly conduct fell by approximately 3% from 6,367 in 1995 to 6,175 in 2000. . . Total arrests excluding disorderly conduct were actually lower in 2000 than in 1995.
In general, the nationwide and large city rates for disorderly conduct arrests and disorderly conduct and drunkenness arrests combined increased slightly in 1996 and 1997, but then decreased from 1998 through 2000, ending up at a rate that was noticeably lower in 2000 than it was in 1995. Over the same period, the nationwide and large city rates for all arrests, all arrests except disorderly conduct, and all arrests except disorderly conduct and drunkenness showed a steady decline from 1995 to 2000, decreasing by anywhere from 13% to 21%.
DRUG REFORM COORDINATION NETWORK - Prosecutors in the 4th police district filed 196 criminal charges between June 15 and July 15, 40 for crimes of violence and 32 for property crimes. The majority of the violent crimes were simple assault (23), followed by assault with a deadly weapon (9), and threatening bodily harm (4). Prosecutors also charged two persons with armed robbery, one with carjacking while armed, and one with felony murder. Leading property crimes were unlawful entry (14), destruction of property (7), and burglary (2), along with a smattering of fraud, forgery, and arson charges. Other offenses charged during the period included prostitution (14), weapons offenses (9), and drunk driving (9).
But a full 36% of all charges filed - 72, equal to the number of violent and property crimes combined - were for drug law violations. Leading the way was cocaine possession (20 charges), followed by marijuana possession (15), heroin possession (9), possession of drug paraphernalia (8), drug distribution (7), violation of a drug free zone (4), PCP possession (2), and marijuana distribution (2). By themselves, marijuana prosecutions constituted 9% of all prosecutions that month in a police district that averages a rape every two weeks, a murder every two weeks, two burglaries a day and two assaults a day, and a hundred stolen cars each month, according to Metropolitan Police records.
JONATHAN YORK, WASHINGTON TIMES - Drug trafficking and a rash of juvenile joy riding have increased car thefts in the District, raising the city's auto-theft statistics to the highest level in six years, Metropolitan Police say. According to the FBI's Uniform Crime Report, 9,168 auto thefts were reported in the District last year, compared with 7,970 in 2001. . . D.C. auto thefts reached a 10-year high in 1995, then decreased through 1998. However, restless teenage thieves and the flagging economy increased the thefts from 1999 through last year.
SAFE STREETS DC - Washington, DC is once again the nation's 'Murder Capital," according to a new study released today. The study, conducted by Safe Streets DC, compared the annual number of murders per 100,000 residents in American cities with populations greater than 500,000. This was the same standard used to determine DC's previous rank as murder capital. In compiling the data, the group relied on homicide statistics from the FBI and police department homicide units from around the country. According to the numbers, DC outranked all major cities, and is again the nation's "murder capital."
Immediately following DC on the list were Detroit (the winner in 2001), Baltimore, Memphis, Chicago and Philadelphia (in that order). Other notable rankings included: Los Angeles (9), Dallas (10), Boston (18), San Francisco (24), and New York (25). Last on the list was Honolulu, ranked 32d with only 18 murders, in spite of its population of nearly 900,000. DC, by comparison, with nearly 600,000 residents, had 262 murders last year.
DC's soaring homicide rate also defied national trends showing a slight drop in murders. In spite of the fact that the number of total murders in all 32 cities dropped 1.2% in 2002 as compared to 2001, DC saw a nearly 13% increase in its murder rate in 2002, giving it the 6th-highest increase among the cities surveyed.
The study also cast doubt on another factor often used by DC officials to explain the city's increasing crime rate: the demands of Homeland Security. "We were surprised to find that New York had a 10% drop in homicides last year, as DC officials often blame the District's increasing crime rate on the demands of post-September 11 security," Aravosis said. "Yet New York, which surely faces as great a threat as Washington, has managed to improve its murder rate."
The study also found that in 2001 DC was the murder capital "runner up." This year, according to the DC Metropolitan Police Department, murder in the District is up over 21% from last year, and at the current pace, Washington could see 325 murders in 2003 as compared to last year's 262. - 2003
Changes in crime rate
during Chief Ramsey's term
Violent Crime +3.3%
Homicide Clearance Rate - 48%
Aggravated Assaults +1%
Stolen Autos +22% [SAFE STREETS DC]
MOST FREQUENTLY STOLEN CARS IN DC
Homicide clearance rate down 21% from last year "The number of killings is the same as last year at this date, but the clearance rate is about 34 percent, compared with 55 percent at the end of last year." - The Wash Post, 3/15/03 [SAFE STREETS DC]
CITIZEN POLICE COMPLAINTS BY DISTRICT & WARD
The Office of Citizen Complaint Review has gotten off to a slow start, but one useful contribution is found in its annual report: a breakdown of complaints against the police by district and by ward. There is a startling disparity in the number of these complaints by location, which supports our thesis that good policing is a function of good police leadership.Where you have it you find far fewer problems. Note also that the total number of complaints is increasing.
WASHINGTON POST - About 75 percent of the cells hold two inmates, and the others are singles. Televisions, radios and books are prohibited in cells, but inmates can have two days' worth of newspapers. They are allowed to shower at least once every 48 hours. 1/03
Homicide closure rate 1997: 70%
Homicide closure rate 1998 (when Chief Ramsey took over): 65%
National murder closure rate 56%
Homicide closure rate 2001: 50%
Homicide closure rate 2002: 55%
2002 - 259
2001 - 233
NUMBER OF COMPLAINTS recevied by new police review board: 700 11/02
According to the FBI's 2000 statistics, the District ranked 28th out of 33 major cities for burglary closure rates (7.4 percent); it ranked 31st for robbery closure rates (10.6 percent); it ranked 29th for closure rates in rape cases (27.1 percent).
Number of personnel in the DC Metropolitan Police Department: 4,200
Budget of the DC MPD: $300 million
Acres in DC: 28,892
Number of acres per police employee: 6.88
Per acre cost of MPD: $10,383
Number of personnel in the US Capitol Police: 1,570
Budget of US Capitol Police: $220 million
Number of acres of US Capitol: 274
Number of acres per US Capitol Police employee: 0.17
Per acre cost of US Capitol Police: $802,920
Number of bodies found in Rock Creek Park over the past 25 years: more than 30
"I would tend to believe the majority of these crimes against people are not taking place in the park," said Sgt. Scott Fear, a U.S. Park Police spokesman, responsible for patrolling the park. "It's more that people are being brought to the park" afterward. [Washington Post 2002]
ARTHUR SANTANA, WASHINGTON POST - Since Lorton was closed for good in November , more than 6,400 District felons are scattered in 77 federal prisons nationwide, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons. . . About 82 percent of those felons, including about 5,255 men and women in 36 prisons, are within the 500-mile radius. But more than 1,184 are housed farther away. Prison officials calculate the distance "as the crow flies."
DC HAS THE 2ND GREATEST disparity between white and non-white incarceration rates of any state or colony in the U.S. according to a new report by Mother Jones Magazine. Mojo also notes that while prison spending has been increasing in DC on a per capita basis, its per capita spending for education has been declining. FULL REPORT
District of Columbia's ranking among U.S. states and colonies for highest incarceration rates: 1
District of Columbia's ranking among U.S.states and colonies for highest education spending per capita: 51
This chart shows how DC has greatly increased per capita spending on incarceration over the past 20 years while reducing per capita spending on education.
Of the 2,838 persons in jail inside of DC, number of whites: 110
DC marijuana arrests in DC have soared since the federal takeover, increasing 40% since 1995 when there were about 1,800. In 1999 there were 2,430. The figures, compiled by NORML, place DC 19th among the country's counties and cities with over 250,000 population. Among major cities, only Denver and New York have higher arrest rates. 8/00
Research by a NAACP taskforce uncovered a hidden 57% leap in lock-ups by DC police during a three month period in 1997 compared to a year earlier. It also appears that the police were locking up many more persons for traffic offenses than previously. During the period studied, a stunning 46% of the traffic stops that resulted in arrest or citations also involved lock-ups. Twenty-two percent of all lock-ups stemmed from traffic stops. Annualizing these figures, a DC citizen now has a one in thirteen chance of being locked over the course of a year. A DC motorist has one chance in thirty-three of being locked up for a traffic violation over the course of the year.
Half the the young black men in DC are under the supervision of the criminal justice system on any day according to the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives. By the time a black man reaches the age of 35 the chance that he will have spent time locked up exceeds 80%
Percentage of all drugs arrests that are for possession, 1990-94, From 51% to 81%, UP 60%
The number of assaults with deadly weapons in D.C. schools has doubled in the past four years, even though the system has spent $8 million on metal detectors, cameras and security officers trying to keep students safe. Information obtained after The Washington Times filed an open-records request shows that between the 1997-98 and the 2000-01 school years:
- Assaults with deadly weapons shot up from 66 to 127.
- Simple assaults in the school system rose from 384 to 475.
- The number of children caught bringing concealed weapons to schools swelled from 329 to 423.
- Robberies rose from 18 to 35.
- Threats against students and staff increased from 156 to 225.
The number of incidents reported to the school system are as bad or worse than those of school systems with twice the number of students. MORE
Federal studies find that violent offenders in DC spend nearly twice as much time in prison as elsewhere.
2500 ex-offenders return to DC every year from the privatized gulags around the country where they were incarcerated. A half dozen of the city's neighborhood get 150-300 ex-inmates a year. 12/01
DC Crime trends
"The number of young African American men ages 18 to 35 in the District of Columbia under criminal justice supervision --- in prison or jail, probation or parole, or on bond or being sought on a warrant --- was compared to U. S. census data for the District. It was found that virtually half (49.9 percent) of that population was under justice control on any given day in early 1997." -- Public interest lawyer Rick Lotke in testimony before the City Council