Identifying Crime Patterns of Washington

Report for a Police Chief – Metropolitan Police Department, Washington, DC

  • In 2014 there were 105 homicides, and in 2015 there were 162 – 54% increase.
  • In 2014 there were 319 forcible rapes, and in 2015 there were 297 – 7% decrease.
  • In 2014 there were 3,296 robberies, and in 2015 there were 3,446 – 5% increase.
  • In 2014 there were 2,490 aggravated assaults, and in 2015 there were 2,429 – 3% decrease.
  • In 2014 there were 3,182 burglaries, and in 2015 there were 2,543 – 20% decrease.
  • In 2014 there were 11,406 thefts from auto, and in 2015 there were 11,160 – 2% decrease.
  • In 2014 there were 3,132 motor vehicle thefts, and in 2015 there were 2,825 –10% decrease.
  • In 2014 there were 14,666 larcenies, and in 2015 there were 14,117 – 4% decrease.
  • In 2014 there were 26 arsons, and in 2015 there were 18 – 31% decrease.
  • In 2014 there were 32,412 property crimes in total, and in 2015 there were 30,663 – 5% decrease.
  • In 2014 there were 38,622 crimes in total, and in 2015 there were 36,994 – 4% decrease (Metropolitan Police Department, 2016).

Disclaimer: This data should be viewed as preliminary because only reported and registered cases are included, not all crime (Santos, 2013). Due to subsequent alterations of classifications or definitions of offenses as well as identification of unfounded cases, some objective changes in figures are possible.

Analyzing Crime Trends

At the end of 2015, this jurisdiction demonstrated a slight improvement in crime statistics compared to 2014. According to the year-end data, the total number of crimes decreased by 4 percent. As for property crimes, developments are as well positive, as there was a 5-percent drop in these crimes in the jurisdiction under consideration. Even though the overall trend is positive, there are still some challenges that should not be ignored.

For instance, the number of homicides increased by 54 percent, which is a spectacular figure. The less alarming but still troubling increase was reported in the instances of robberies – 5 percent. That said, the general trend is positive, as most crime rates dropped.

As it was mentioned above, the major matters of concern are the increases in homicides and robberies. It is essential to note that there is no universal approach to identifying underlying factors, which stimulate people to become involved in criminal activities. However, there are some local causes seen within the context of national development, which can be beneficial for understanding growing murder rates. For instance, homicides might be a reaction to hysteria in political life.

This statement can be explained by paying too much attention to similar cases in the speeches of politicians. This problem is especially troubling in 2016, as the presidential candidates often tend to overplay the criticality of the challenge (Beckett, Aufrichtig, & Davis, 2016). The same can be said if race-related issues are raised, as it leads to the increase in homicides of racial minorities. Finally, it can as well be connected to public anger over frequent instances of police and community violence. As for robberies, the increase might be stimulated by imperfections of the law enforcement system and lower performance of police officers, as criminals believe that they would not be arrested and punished (James, 2015).

On the other hand, the number of aggravated assaults and thefts from automobiles remained nearly the same, as the decrease did not exceed 3 percent. Still, it is critical to note that analyzing one-year change is insufficient for drawing accurate conclusions regarding trends in crime patterns. That is why it is recommended to emphasize a longer timeframe or at least the current year data. As of October 2016, there is a decrease in both homicides and robberies (Metropolitan Police Department, 2016).

Because during the previous year these problems were the most challenging, paying specific attention to identifying trends in these crimes is advisable. The primary idea is to come up with precise information based on studying available statistics. For this reason, administrative analysis, i.e. the focus on charts, maps, and data, is recommended (International Association of Crime Analysis, 2014).

Finally, it is imperative to keep in mind that there are different types of crimes. In general, they are referred to as Part I and Part II crimes. The first group of criminal activities makes up the primary concern of police departments and law enforcement system as the whole. It includes serious offenses such as homicides, motor vehicle thefts, arsons, robberies, larcenies, burglaries, aggravated assaults, etc. As for Part II crimes, they are not classified as serious offenses. Some appropriate examples are fraud, vandalism, counterfeiting and forgery, prostitution, gambling, drunkenness, vagrancy, suspicion, etc. (FBI Department of Justice, n.d.).

The primary difference between the two is the fact that Part I crimes are reported to the FBI on a case-by-case basis, while Part II crimes are not. Instead, arrest data is saved for preparing arrest statistics and reporting this information to the FBI as well (O’Deane, 2011). Based on these distinctions, all crimes mentioned in the report for a police chief should be classified as Part I crime because they are serious offenses.

References

Beckett, L., Aufrichtig, A., & Davis, K. (2016). Murders up 10.8% in biggest percentage increase since 1971, FBI data shows. The Guardian. Web.

FBI Department of Justice. (n.d). Appendix II: Offenses in uniform crime reporting. Web.

International Association of Crime Analysis. (2014). Definition and types of crime analysis. Web.

James, N. (2015). Is violent crime in the United States rising?  Web.

Metropolitan Police Department. (2016). District crime data at a glance. Web.

O’Deane, M. D. (2011). Gang injunctions and abatement: Using civil remedies to curb gang-related crimes. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Santos, R. B. (2013). Crime analysis with crime mapping (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.