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Capital Beefs Up Patrols to Fight Crime

from United Press International

The District of Columbia began putting more police on street patrol today to combat drug-related violence that has made this the nation’s “murder capital.”

Under a crime emergency directive from Police Chief Maurice Turner, about 400 officers will leave their desk duties to walk a beat one or two days a week.

At City Hall, numerous other measures being considered range from calling in the National Guard to tightening the district’s already strict gun laws to adding 700 officers to the force. A curfew for teen-agers is to be enforced beginning Friday.

As of early Sunday, police had reports of 93 homicides in the district so far this year. A record 372 murders took place here in 1988, up 65% from the 1987 homicide rate. The vast majority of killings in Washington stem from disputes over drugs or gang battles for turf.

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In 1988, Washington had the highest murder rate among the nation’s major urban areas--59.4 killings for each 100,000 residents. Detroit, which had the highest murder rate in the previous three years, was second with a rate of 58 per 100,000 population. Dallas was a distant third, with a rate of 36.5.


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