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Focus On Homicides Is Limited, Says Neighborhood Crime Watch Group

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By Mana Rabiee

D.C. police are touting a sharp drop in homicides but a neighborhood watch group wants them to also focus on other crimes that receive less attention.

Police Chief Cathy Lanier says the nearly 25 percent drop in homicides in 2009 is thanks to her departments' focus on repeat violent offenders.

"The other real big piece of this that's helped so much is building good strong relationships with the community," says Lanier.

That includes talking with neighborhood watch groups like the Northwest Columbia Heights Community Association formed by Cecelia Jones. Jones praises the police, but says her neighbors are more concerned over "quality of life" crimes such as robbery or car break-ins.

"A lot of the murders that I know of in Columbia Heights, I wouldn't consider myself a potential victim, but robberies can happen to anybody, theft can happen to anybody," says Jones. "Those types of crimes are what makes you want to move."

Chief Lanier says her strategy targets those crimes as well, since many robberies are committed by repeat offenders.

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