Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Crime spree hits U.S. cities

Communities grapple with rise in violence
Summer crime wave hits Washington, Seattle, Indianapolis, other U.S. cities

Police blotters in Seattle, Indianapolis, Minneapolis and other cities paint similarly violent pictures: After a decade of decline, violent crime is on the rise across the U.S. Assault and rape rose 2.5 percent between 2004 and 2005, according to the FBI’s latest report of national crime trends. Murder and robbery are up nearly 5 percent — the sharpest increase since 1991. Medium-sized cities of between 50,000 and 500,000 have been the bloodiest. The storm is battering Washington, a city that gained a reputation as the nation’s murder capital a decade ago. That was during the height of the crack epidemic, when predominately black neighborhoods like the one where Crowder lived became killing fields.

Now Washington is cowering under a new wave of late-night robberies and carjackings blamed mostly on youths armed with knives and guns. Last month in upscale Georgetown, assailants attacked a British man who had been volunteering for Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, slashing the man’s throat and attempting to rape his female companion. Last week, a 17-year-old girl was gunned down in southeast Washington. In her dying moments, she managed to save her infant godson by sliding him under a parked car. The attacks have incensed local officials, as well as those who have eulogized the dead. “Who would kill a man in a wheelchair?” asks Dr. Melvin G. Brown, the pastor who led Crowder’s funeral after he was killed July 8 near the apartment he shared with his mother in northwest Washington’s Shaw neighborhood. Crowder was shot seven times, his body found on the ground beside his wheelchair. Another man was critically wounded. There have been no arrests in the case. See: Crime spree hits U.S. cities

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