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The Nation : Capital Passes Detroit in Homicide Rate

Detroit has lost its distinction as the nation’s murder capital to Washington, where crack cocaine was blamed for contributing to an increase in the homicide rate in 1988, according to a published report. With a population estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau at 626,000, Washington had 372 homicides in 1988, city police figures published in the Detroit News showed. That compared to 630 in Detroit, which has a population of 1.08 million. Translating the numbers into per capita homicides, 59.42 people were killed in Washington for every 100,000 population. The comparable figure for Detroit was 58. Detroit had the highest murder rate per capita among the largest cities from 1985 through 1987. Dallas was third with 36.57 murders per 100,000 population. Lt. Reginald Smith, a Washington police spokesman, cited the lagging introduction of crack cocaine into his city as the reason for “an explosion of violence.”


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