Montgomery County hits three-decade high for homicides
Montgomery County has recorded 35 homicides this year, according to Montgomery County police – more than a single year in more than three decades.
Homicides in the past month include:
Officer Carlos Cortes-Vazquez, spokesperson for the police department, confirmed that 35 is the correct number for homicides as of Thursday. He did not specify which ones were included or excluded from the total.
Earlier this year, the department excluded two murders from the homicide count because they were considered “justifiable.” The ministry did not specify which cases they were.
According to a Departmental Council staff report prepared earlier this month for the Public Safety Committee, there have been three more years since 1990 in which 30 or more homicides have been recorded. They were 34 in 1994, 32 in 2002 and 30 in 2015.
The staff report is based on FBI data. Total homicides in 2002 included victims of the Beltway sniper attacks, which terrorized the Washington area in October of that year.
The council’s report mentions that two homicides were deemed “justifiable” and not counted, but it does not specify which murders they were. When asked which killings fell into this category, police directed a reporter to the state prosecutor’s office.
Police also did not say whether this year’s homicide tally includes five fatal shootings by law enforcement officers in Montgomery County this year, the most recent of which occurred on Wednesday morning in Silver Spring.
In April, an off-duty Pentagon protection officer was charged with the murder of two men in Takoma Park.
The increase in homicides in Montgomery County this year has been accompanied by spikes in other violent crimes such as carjackings, assaults and thefts. Several county officials have expressed concern over this trend.
Nearby Washington, DC, also saw a higher number of homicides this year – 220 as of December 26, which is the most since 2003, The The Washington Post reported this week.
Dan Schere can be contacted at [email protected]