D.C. Witness Brings Safety and Confidence to Residents

D.C. Witness began its mission in 2015 to help put a stop to homicides in Washington, DC by supplying transparency about homicides.

We supply transparency because we know that informed tactics to prevent homicides are more useful than theories on how to protect residents in the city. We do this by collecting data on all homicides, noting any specific or irregular trends or patterns.

Despite income and population shifts in the Nation’s Capital, the city still has a plethora of homicides. According to D.C. Witness data, there have been 156 homicides in the District of Columbia as of Dec. 7, a 31 percent increase from the 119 homicides at the same time last year.

Even though D.C. Witness focuses on homicides and the court proceedings that follow, I still pause with every police notification regarding an assault or robbery where the assailant(s) was armed.

I can’t help but think if the assailant realized the outcome could have been completely different. What if their actions resulted in the death of a victim such as the case involving 14-year-old Steven Slaughter. According to court documents, Anthony Deandre Allen, along with two other individuals who the police have not apprehended, allegedly shot and killed Slaughter in a robbery attempt. Allen, 22, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on Dec. 4. His sentencing is scheduled in April of 2019. At this point, the journalist in me wants to know if he has any regret? Will he apologize to the family? Will he appeal for a lighter sentence from the judge? Why did he think armed robbery was an option? Did he realize the target was a juvenile?

The one thing anyone knows for certain, at this point, is that Slaughter is no longer alive and his family, Allen and Allen’s family’s lives will not be the same going forward.

Along with tracking individual cases, D.C. Witness also collects data on homicides in the city. Our data shows that even though homicides were lower in November than October, 21 and 11, respectively, Ward 8, which has almost always ranked high on the list for city homicides, lost the crown to Ward 5 by one homicide. According to D.C. Witness data, Ward 5 has not had the most homicides in the city since the organization began charting homicides by ward in March. The flux puts into question whether DC’s homicide-reduction measures are actually working.

This line of questioning is not meant to point the finger at the administration or blame the police. Instead, D.C. Witness, which was constructed to record all data on all homicides in DC from date-of-death to judicial resolution, wants to put the facts together in an effort to stop homicides in the city.