WASHINGTON — The District of Columbia, once known as the nation’s murder capital, ended 2012 with fewer than 100 homicides for the first time since 1963.
The city recorded 88 homicides, down from the more than 400 a year it saw from 1989 through 1993 amid a crack cocaine epidemic. The decline reflects the trend in many other cities, though Chicago surpassed 500 homicides, the highest annual total since 2008.
Homicide Watch D.C., which tracks killings in the city, put the number at 92 because it included four cases ruled self-defense and not included in the police department count. That still would put the number below the 95 homicides recorded in 1963.
In 1961, there were 88 homicides, according to a police spokeswoman. The district recorded 108 homicides in 2011. D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier attributed the reduction to a combination of factors, including increased focus on guns and gangs and investment in technology.