Lanier: Quick Arrests Prevent “Retaliatory Violence”

Time to first arrest. Click to view larger.

Murder cases are being closed faster than ever, DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier said Friday. “The time it takes us to close a case has dropped dramatically.”

She credits cooperation between law enforcement, prosecutors and the community with quick arrests, many happening at or near the crime scene.

And those quick arrests, she added, help tamp down on retaliatory violence that was once endemic to Washington.

We don’t have weekends where we have 11 or 12 shootings and seven homicides,” Lanier said, “because the detectives work around the clock with our partners, and we take those people off the streets before retaliation begins.”

Lanier said 33 homicides this year were closed within seven days.

According to data gathered by Homicide Watch DC, in 2011, a dozen murders saw an arrest within 24 hours. Half of cases that closed this year—29 out of 58 cases—did so within a week. About two-thirds—38 out of 58—closed within three weeks.

The median time from incident to arrest this year is 7.5 days.

The investigation into Bill Mitchell’s death in Truxton Circle took nearly the full year: He died on Jan. 19; Anthony Speight was arrested on Dec. 27.

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