The nation’s capital recorded more homicides in 2023 than in any year since 1997, giving the District the fifth-highest murder rate among the nation’s biggest cities. The 274 confirmed victims ranged from infants to octogenarians. They were killed in homes, in Metro subway stations and in motor vehicles; they were killed in alleys, in school zones and in public parks. They were slain on streets by acquaintances and strangers and in the crossfire of warring neighborhood crews, in double shootings and triple shootings. They died in the dark and the dawn and under the midday sun in all parts of the city, from its poorest precincts to its busiest commercial and nightlife areas. To illustrate the human dimension of the violence, the Washington Post compiled a comprehensive list of the casualties — a month-by-month tally of who the victims were, how they died and where — while also examining the broader trends of the city’s homicide crisis.
The loss of lives in the year just ended, including the killings of 19 children and young teenagers, plunged families and communities into grief and ignited a local political crisis that escalated to the halls of Congress. Federal officials questioned whether D.C. leaders were equipped to prevent the District from regressing to the social dysfunction and near municipal collapse of the late 20th century, when the city, overwhelmed by crack-fueled bloodshed, became known as the nation's murder capital. “It’s been a tough year,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “There is no doubt about that.” With a rate of 40 homicides per 100,000 residents, the District was deadlier than 55 of the 60 most populous cities, behind only New Orleans, Cleveland, Baltimore and Memphis. While homicides surged in Washington, they decreased in many other places, including New York and Chicago.