DC Homicide Rates Rise Despite Aggressive Gun Confiscation

DC’s aggressive weapons confiscation hasn’t done much to reduce homicides. (Photo: WAMU Youtube Screenshot)

Few police departments are better at confiscating illegal guns than Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department, according to a new report from NPR. But that aggressive gun-confiscation policy hasn’t done anything to curb the ballooning homicide rate in the nation’s capital, which has risen over 40 percent since last year.

Every American police department encourages its officers to be on the lookout for illegal guns, but D.C. has instituted a program that tasks teams of officers in unmarked cars to scour the streets in search of people who might be carrying illegal firearms.

D.C. officers frequently stop pedestrians and pull cars over when they observe an individual looking nervous when they drive past. They’ve also stopped and searched people for crossing the street, running away, wearing heavy coats in warm weather, or holding their pants in a certain way while walking, according to NRP.

The practice has become so ubiquitous that residents have started calling officers who look for people carrying illegal weapons the “jump-outs.”

SEE ALSO: Los Angeles County Touts Success of Confiscation Squads

“We are out here to get illegal guns. It’s not to violate anyone’s rights or have a community uproar. That’s not our intent,” Assistant D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee told the news service. “What I know is that that firearm that’s been recovered off that street, it won’t take the life of somebody out here.”

In terms of gun confiscation, the policy has been successful. D.C. police confiscated 1,870 guns in 2016, more than five times as many illegal guns per capita as did the New York City Police Department, and nearly twice that of the Los Angeles Police, according to police data. In 2017, they confiscated even more—2,191.

So, do fewer guns “on the street” result in less crime? Not so much. While the homicide rate dropped between 2015 and 2017, so far this year there have been more homicides than the entirety of last year and the same number as in 2016 (135). That number is driven largely by firearm-related crime, which accounted for 77 percent of homicides in 2016.

Gun crime, not surprisingly, is driven more by the people who pull the trigger. This is evidenced by the ineffectiveness of D.C.’s gun confiscation policy as well as the effectiveness of programs that target the small percentage of individuals who are responsible for much of the gun-related crime in any particular city.

These programs have proven to be remarkably effective at reducing gun-related violence rates in the most dangerous American cities, and their success is due largely to their emphasis on the people who commit crime rather than the tools they choose to use.

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over four years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco. Follow him on Instagram @bornforgoodluck and email him at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 29 comments… add one }
  • greg March 19, 2021, 6:35 am

    Why run old news as new news. I would think reporting current issues would be more beneficial than issues and comments several years old. What do you think?

  • Drew August 30, 2019, 11:28 am

    As a 30 plus year resident of DC, close party to Heller case, and DC permit holder, I am — like most law abiding shooting enthusiasts who live here — glad MPD is doing this work.

  • john December 28, 2018, 9:02 am

    They overwhelmingly keep voting democrat , and then they cry about the results ? WTF? These people are getting exactly what they asked for. No sympathy here whatsoever.

  • Frankie Ammo November 28, 2018, 1:49 pm

    The caption is wrong. It says homicide rates rise “despite” aggressive gun confiscation. It would probably be more accurate to say “because of.” Also, did you catch how the first sentence mentions “illegal” guns? Should just say “guns.” To them, all guns are illegal.

  • Larry Hasvri October 27, 2018, 7:53 pm

    Politicians in D.C. and our other 49 states dont have a clue as how to stop the murderous criminals. They think they save face with antigun lobbyists for there votes and are unserscoring there stupidity by putting harsh gun laws into effect which are only punishing law abidiing gun owners. Realistically the real problems are #1- those who vote for these liberal idiot DEMORATICpoliticians ans #2 The idiots who dont vote and allow these liberal DEMORATICpoliticians win. COME November 2018 you either sit at home and dont vote you are too blame for the downfall of oUR coUntey when the DEMORATS GOD FORBID WIN.

  • MJ October 27, 2018, 2:37 pm

    Gun laws stop no one except the law abiding. There are already laws on top of laws.
    Capture the law breakers and send them a message, zero tolerance for crimes committed with
    a firearm.

  • JOHN T. FOX October 26, 2018, 2:24 pm


  • David F. Podesta October 26, 2018, 2:23 pm

    It’s the same old story- “A gun taken off the street is a gun which won’t take a life”. That is such an oversimplification that it’s laughable. A gun is an inert combination of parts intended for a specific purpose. Wether it’s used for honorable purposes is solely in the hands of the operator. Handguns were and are made for the purpose of protecting the life of the user. People who murder others are mis-using handguns and are common criminals and should be treated very severely by the justice system in order to send the message that criminally using firearms and abusing the 2nd amendment won’t be tolerated.

  • D. H. October 26, 2018, 1:02 pm

    It’s a simple problem the government solved via gun confiscation. It’s a given, bad guys have guns and do bad things with them. In order to ensure the bad guys have easier, defenseless targets the government takes guns away from the good guys who legally have guns. Bad guys with guns can now openly, blatantly, without much of a deterrent (if any) assault the good guys who had their guns taken away because, well, the government didn’t want the good guys to have the guns in the first place even though they were obtained legally and were in the possession of those who are responsible enough to handle and maintain them properly. It’s now a world where cops and bad guys have guns. There’s far more bad guys than cops hence there’s far more bad guys with guns than cops with guns. The good guys (who are without guns now because they’ve been confiscated to serve a politico agenda) are now much easier targets and and somewhat defenseless prey of the bad guys with guns. See there! It all makes total sense now doesn’t it.

    Yeah, right.

  • Robert Mccallum October 26, 2018, 12:30 pm

    So I guess Terry v Ohio doesn’t apply in DC? What is the probable cause for searching these people or pulling over their vehicles?.. this is corrupt police behavior

    • Darryl October 27, 2018, 1:00 am

      true, much like the nazi’s did. “We are out here to get illegal guns. It’s not to violate anyone’s rights or have a community uproar. That’s not our intent,” but that’s just what you’re doing and you don’t care that it’s what you’re doing.

    • Mig October 27, 2018, 11:14 am

      Terry v. Ohio was a landmark Supreme Court case that established an officer can stop someone based on “reasonable suspicion” which is a lesser standard than probable cause.

  • Mott October 26, 2018, 11:06 am

    Hey Stupid! It’s NOT the gun but the NUT holding it!

  • Dilligaf October 26, 2018, 10:50 am

    What?! You mean criminals are STILL getting illegal firearms? Say it aint so!

  • Irish-7 October 26, 2018, 10:27 am

    It is a “no win” situation for police. While I concur that the “stop & frisk” tactics lack the probable cause mandated by the US Constitution, I am also reminded of New York City’s success in reducing murders under Rudy Giuliani. I cannot explain why this plan worked in NYC, but is not working in DC. I do think that the posture of any neighborhood is more influenced by the people than the police. If locals want to clean up their city, they must work with police to get rid of the drug dealers. This is unlikely as too many people would have to “drop a dime” on their family members that are in gangs. Cops will be vilified for not doing anything, or for doing too much. There will be people opposed to the police being proactive and reactive. I would hope that the cops are not randomly stopping people, that they are targeting know criminals.

  • Gary HEATON October 26, 2018, 9:58 am

    Well..the murder rate WOULD go UP, if you took away the guns from HALF of the bad guys. They can’t even protect themselves anymore. (Not that I CARE that they can’t, I don’t care if they ALL kill each other), but let’s not lie about WHY something works or doesn’t.
    And face it..taking guns DID NOT lower gun crime in their area, it increased. Simple as that!
    Chicago has always been the crap dump of the Midwest anyway. It’s their Detroit, or a small LA. All crap holes! If THE PEOPLE don’t take these cities BACK from the scum, no one will.
    But.. I am NOT sure they deserve to do so. After all, the majority of them VOTED for the crooked bastards that enacted all these “coddle the criminal” laws to start with, then ignore REASON when they don’t work! But, did they change those laws that made it worse? NO..They vote for more slime, and THEY pass MORE of them.
    Face it, you get what you pay for! Let all those crap hole cities self destruct, who cares?
    As the guy in the movie said when asked “but what about all the nice people in this town?” And the bad guy replied “nice people don’t live in this town! If they did, they should move out, its not FIT for good people to live in!”
    I agree with his statement!

    • Ernie October 27, 2018, 2:17 am

      Have u ever been to any of those cities before u shit on them…? Because they’re probably nicer than your trailer park… eahhh

  • joefoam October 26, 2018, 9:40 am

    Despite draconian gun laws crimes continue. Say it isn’t so. It continues to prove that world wide and through out history that gun control laws don’t work. I guess some people are as dumb as a box of rocks to believe they will.

  • Nick T October 26, 2018, 9:33 am

    Long before gun crime became an issue, I was fortunate enough to attend a school with teachers of the highest quality and integrity.
    One of the things I took away from discussions on society was the impending break down of the culture.
    It was recognized that the agendas being placed into motion would have just the opposite effect of what
    was promoted.
    Here we are today with families and communities, for the most part, broken apart. It was forecast, and
    understood from the nature of man what was inevitable.
    Now we have divisiveness, but what is worse we have an incredibly ignorant public that has either completely forgotten, or never grasped the fact that this is a nation wherein “sovereignty itself remains with
    the people, by whom and for whom all government exists and acts”. That is why every word in the 2nd must be taken in light of the entire U.S. Constitution, why we’ve been mislead to believe that it is only the individual right that counts, that the first 13 words of the amendment and Cls. 15 & 16 of Article I, Section 8 mean nothing.
    Shame on us all for leaving our children to clean up this mess because we were to selfish and ignorant to resolve it ourselves.

  • Alan Robinson October 26, 2018, 9:28 am

    So, are we to understand that the guns are confiscated, and the person then returned to the street?
    If so, then basically they are just encouraging MORE gun theft and illegal purchases, by creating a higher demand to replace confiscated guns!
    There is NO mention of ANY prosecution for illegal carry, and it’s PEOPLE who pull triggers.
    What idiot came up with this?????

  • Rokurota October 26, 2018, 8:59 am

    “It’s not to violate anyone’s rights…” The Fourth Amendment would disagree with you.

  • mike October 26, 2018, 8:44 am

    SIMPLE—-SO effective BECAUSE THEY ARE “PROFILING”!! ALSO known as “doing good and proper police work”!!

  • Johnny Raygun October 26, 2018, 8:40 am

    One sentence in the story sums up the entire issue,,, ” gun crime, not surprisingly, is driven more by the people who pull the trigger”. DUH!!!!! Gun control will not stop shootings, it is a mental state driven by hate, vengeance, jealousy and greed, and disease, just to name a few.

  • ronzino October 26, 2018, 8:22 am

    I thought all the liberal city mayors and police officials were opposed to “stop and frisk” (New York City, Baltimore, Boston, DC)? Did I miss the memo? Can one of these politicians explain the difference between police jumping out of unmarked cars to grab people believed to be in possession of firearms and “stop and frisk”? What percentage of these “jump-outs” lead to legitimate gun confiscations? I’m confused!

    • Clint Gray October 27, 2018, 12:15 pm

      Are not those supposed to be (sanctuary cities )
      To protect the poor and underserved and illegals
      AND here they go frisking every body they profile
      (What is the problem)

  • Infidel762X51 October 26, 2018, 8:14 am

    I would like to see the actual criteria for these stops and searches. From what the article describes I am not sure they would hold up under the 4th amendment. There are no statistics for arrest/convictions so possibly they are just confiscating the guns without making arrests? No, I am not a lawyer just a dumb detective who spent over 20 years on the job. I didn’t see anything in the article that rises to level of probable cause for these searches.

  • Leighton Cavendish October 26, 2018, 6:30 am

    The gun-grabbers will say it is because of lax laws in neighboring states…completely ignoring the fact that the criminals are breaking the law/laws.
    Breakdown by sex, age and race would have been nice as well.

  • Steven October 26, 2018, 6:16 am

    What a shithole city!

  • Jason October 26, 2018, 5:08 am

    Actually that pic is from a police set up of an innocent man. It has nothing to do with gun confiscation. They’re actually able to legally conceal and carry there unlike their neighbor Maryland.

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