New study offers insight into who is responsible for gun violence in DC

A new study analyzing gun violence in the District shows a small group of people are responsible for 60-70% of all gun violence in the city.

The National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform partnered with the Metropolitan Police Department and several other agencies to conduct a study on shootings and homicides in D.C.

David Muhammad, executive director for NICJR, says they work to research, collect, and analyze data around criminal justice and violence reduction.

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Muhammad said they found most gun violence in D.C. is tightly concentrated to a small number of people they refer to as "high risk," meaning those involved in street crews or gangs; with prior criminal history; those who have been a victim before, and has a connection to a recent shooting.

"In any given day there’s probably no more than about 200 people who rise to that level of we are extremely concerned about them being involved in gun violence today," Muhammad said. "Over the course of a year it’s somewhere around 500 of the identifiable people. So that’s that 60-70 percent."

Muhammad says while there are many victims of shootings who weren't the intended target, most homicide suspects, and victims, about 86%, are known to the criminal justice system before the incident.

"It is very, very, very rare that the first crime you ever commit is shooting someone."

The report says more than 60% of the victims and suspects in homicides and shootings are between the ages of 18-34.

Muhammad tells FOX 5 some of the reasons behind the gun violence are anything from neighborhood disputes between groups to drug or robbery related incidents.

However, he says young men fighting over a woman is a reason they see most often.

"It might be I’m upset with this guy who is now messing around with my ex-girlfriend, we’re both in neighborhood cliques, now I am threatening him on social media we’re now taunting each other back and forth on social media and that escalates into a shooting."

Muhammad said he believes the long-term solution to D.C.’s gun violence problem is addressing poverty, improving educational systems and economic development.


In the short term, Muhammad said the city will need to continue to increase focus on investigations and enforcement on serious and violent crimes; and develop a strategy focused on those who are at highest risk of gun violence.

"Where they’re identified, there’s an immediate engagement with those individuals; it is a well-managed and intensive and intentional strategy."
Muhammad was asked if this would require more police officers, he said they’d like to do another study before giving an answer, but suggested MPD increase personnel specifically focused on gun violence.

You can view the full report here.