I was born and raised in the suburbs, and when I decided to become a city planner and move to a major city, I heard from many people in my parents’ generation about how dangerous Washington DC was. “It’s the murder capital of the country!” But is it really? How does DC’s crime rate compare to that of other cities? These sound like some good myths to bust. Let’s get to it!
So is DC the murder capital of the country? This claim may have been true at one point, but that was about twenty years ago. The District went through a trying time in the early 90s, when crack cocaine took over the city and murders peaked at 479 in 1991 (an astounding 78.92 murders per 100,000 residents, Borderstan points out). But last year, there were 143 homicides in the city, continuing a decades-long downward trend. So yes, at one point the District may have had the highest murder rate in the country, but that’s definitely not the case now.