Charles H. RamseyChief Charles H. Ramsey delivered the following statement to the Council of the District of Columbia, Committee on the Judiciary, The Honorable Phil Mendelson, Chair on October 26, 2005, at the Council Chamber, John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC.
Chief of Police
Metropolitan Police Department
Chairperson Mendelson, other members of the Committee, staff and guests – I appreciate this opportunity to update the Committee on the Metropolitan Police Department’s progress, since our last performance hearing, in such critical areas as neighborhood safety, juvenile crime, traffic safety, and staffing and organization. A copy of my prepared statement is being posted on our Department’s website, http://www.mpdc.dc.gov/
In the area of neighborhood safety, the trends continue to be very encouraging. Official Uniform Crime Reports show that serious crime in the District declined by 18 percent from 2003 to 2004. This followed a nearly 9 percent reduction in crime between 2002 and 2003. There were 33,171 serious, or Part I, crimes (excluding arsons) reported to the police during 2004. This represents the lowest number of crimes reported in a single year since the current UCR reporting program began back in 1965, and the lowest violent and property crime rates in 35 years. There were reductions last year in every major crime category, including a 20 percent decline in homicides.
The good news on crime reduction has continued into calendar year 2005 as well. Preliminary statistics show that, through the first 10 months of the year, serious crime is down almost 8 percent citywide when compared with the same period of 2004. Every major crime category is down again this year except one – robbery, which I will discuss a little later in my testimony. There have been double-digit reductions this year in sexual assaults, burglaries and stolen autos. The preliminary data also show that crime is down this year in all seven police districts. This suggests that both our citywide crime reduction strategies as well as our localized community policing efforts are having an impact in neighborhoods throughout the city.
As I did during my testimony in March, I want to publicly salute the men and women of the Metropolitan Police Department, as well as our partners in the community, for their outstanding effort in bringing about these dramatic – and sustained – reductions in crime. Our city and our neighborhoods are safer today because of their dedication, creativity and hard work.
This hard work is reflected in some of our key activity indicators, including arrests and firearm recoveries. From 2003 to 2004, the number of adults arrested in DC increased by more than 14 percent, to nearly 47,000. Through the first 10 months of this year, arrest totals have generally remained at the high, 2004 level. In addition, our officers have already recovered more than 2,000 firearms so far this year. This year’s figure is 17 percent higher than the comparable number for 2004. This represents about 300 additional firearms taken off our streets this year. Our officers have also served approximately 3,800 arrest warrants this year.