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Policing in the Nation's Capital

Overall crime is down from this time last year, but homicides are up 20 percent, shootings are up 34 percent, motor vehicle theft is up 47 percent and carjackings (as of Nov. 17) were up an eye-popping 129 percent with delivery vehicles seeming to be a target.According to 2019 US Census Bureau estimates, DC's population was 45.4% Black or African American, 42.5% White (37.3% Non-Hispanic White and 5.2% Hispanic White), 4.1% Asian, 4.4% Some Other Race, 0.3% Native American and Alaskan Native, 0.1% Pacific Islander and 3.3% from two or more races. The Black population remains the most prominent racial category in DC and includes 11.5% of Hispanics who self-identify as Black. The remainder of Hispanics self-identify as White (46.4%), Some Other Race (35.8%), Multiracial (5.4%), American Indian and Alaskan Native (0.3%), Asian (0.5%), and Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (0.1%). Even so, 8 in 10 adults arrested for crime in Washington, DC are black. These numbers can certainly serve as starting point for constructive discussions among concerned members of the community, law enforcement, and other city leaders. But again, those discussions should include further examination of the many different factors that influence crime and arrest, prior to drawing firm conclusions as to the reasons why one group is not proportionate to the other. Comparison of racial proportions alone is not sufficient for examining this important issue. In fact, more than 19 of 20 arrests are for nonviolent offenses.

When assessing crime and punishment in Washington, DC, one cannot simply forget the racial dynamics at play/. Washington, DC used to be called Chocolate City as it was a center of black culture and life. Now, DC is being heavily gentrified and overtaken by police forces that racially profile its natives. Washington, DC policing must reflect the best intentions for its natives.

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