D.C.’s homicide numbers, in a trend that mirrors the rest of the nation, are on track to hit a 45 year low, the Washington Times reports. It’s certainly a surprising thing to hear after a year of news about small children shot through a door, but we’ve only logged 132 homicides compared to last year’s 184. So even if an ugly few days pushes it even farther from 1964′s 132 it still represents a notable improvement.
As the article mentions ever so briefly, this is a nationwide trend of decreasing violent crime that, despite what you hear in the media, has been going on a long time. I heard an interesting interview on the Kojo show the other day with Paul Butler, a professor of law at George Washington University. Butler was hawking his book, Let’s Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice, but he made an interesting assertion near the end of the interview – that the decline in violent crime was tied directly to decreases of lead in our environment.
Given the difficulty DC’s water authority has had over the years with lead in the water this is a particularly relevant assertion for us.