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D.C. Homicide Division Reports More Arrests


September-October 1994

Overcoming internal problems and given respite by the lower murder rate, Washington D.C.'s homicide division is showing a higher clearance rate (Ruben Castaneda, "Homicide Division Rejuvenated," Washington Post, Sept. 29, 1994, p. DC1).

As was reported in the August edition of NewsBriefs ("Witness Intimidation," p. 9), D.C. police officials testified before the House Subcommittee on Crime and Criminal Justice that witness intimidation was responsible for a low clearance rate. In the last few months, however, the division is making more arrests. Captain William Hennessy was assigned to revamp the way the division handles its investigations. After taking suggestions from the officers, Hennessy obtained more cars and officers. In addition, he assigned squads of detectives to cover an area regularly, making it more likely that connections will be made among cases.

Prosecutors report that the officers are not only solving more crimes, but the cases they bring to trial are better organized and investigated. Police officials believe that the increase in the clearance rate may be responsible for a decrease in the number of homicides. Last year, 467 people were killed in D.C. but only 291 have been slain as of Sept. 29th.