MPD chief to criminals: Bring it on

Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier told the Washington Times yesterday that the department expects fewer than 100 homicides for 2009. Lanier, who resides in the land of magical thinking, has essentially issued a challenge to the city to bring on the murder. As of this writing, there have been 88 (or 89, it's unclear if the Pizza shop body is included) murders this year. There's still more than four months left in the year, so we've got to average less than 3 murders per month.

"Fewer than 100 homicides is reasonable," Chief Lanier told The Washington Times. "We're targeting for under 100, and I think we can do it if we give everything we've got."

Well, I'm glad Lanier decided to give it everything we've got, and to not settle for the ~140 murders we'd get if the current pace continues. I hope that the super-double-secret crime prevention techniques continue to work for the rest of the year.

As I've discussed here before, Lanier enjoys taking credit for DC's following of a nationwide trend of less violent crime and murder. Experts are puzzled as to why crime has been down this year all across the nation. It's been down a little bit more in DC than elsewhere, but it's very hard to believe that the All Hands on Deck weekends and the Go-Go Task Force are enough to take credit for all of this.

Lanier is hedging her bets by thinking big. Generally I admire that sort of thinking, but in this case it almost seems like a challenge to the criminals. I'd love it if DC had less than 100 murders in 2009, but will there be any accountability if that goal is not met? Lanier says we have the ability to do this, that it's possible. If MPD fails, will management be held accountable? Also, will we look at a possible uptick in property crimes and robberies? If it bleeds it leads, I know, but even if MPD keeps murders under 100, they've still got at least 99 other problems.

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