Life and Death on the DC Streets
UPDATED: Annys Shin’s WaPo piece on HomicideWatch can be found here.
There’s a new murder site on the Interwebs: A DC specific destination that goes on beyond the simple charge that wmrw has.
Whereas we obsessively track the comings and goings, ins and outs of the Robert Wone murder investigation and its companion trials, DC residents Laura Amico and her husband have taken our model one step further.
HomicideWatch.org and its companion library offer “an online resource for all documents related to homicide cases in the District of Columbia.” A tall order indeed and a very worthy mission.
On any given day, Laura and her team post two and three times. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of content as the body counts in this city seems to never stop growing.
This is a Herculean effort and are to be commended for taking the lead on such a worthy cause. The site’s subhead plainly states a key part of their mission, “Mark every death. Remember every victim. Follow every case.”
Their editorial product is solid and the team brings respectable journalist credentials to the table. From their ‘About’ page:
“There were certain heartbreaking tragedies in 2009. Oscar Fuentes, a nine-year-old Columbia Heights boy, was shot to death as he peered at his apartment door’s peephole. Teens Davonta Artis and Daquan Tibbs, dead in an after-school drive-by shooting in the troubled Clay Terrace neighborhood. Stephen T. Johns, 39, a U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum security guard slain in the building’s lobby by a rifle wielding elderly white-supremacist.
Teens and children killed in senseless violence. Bodies left bullet-riddled in empty lots and abandoned cars. Families across D.C. grieving, mourning, remembering, wondering why. Still, in a city once known for violent crime the tide is turning.
One hundred and forty three people died in 2009; the fewest homicides in the District of Columbia since 1966.
“I could not be more pleased with the hard work put forth by the members of this department,” Metro Police Chief Cathy Lanier said. “I truly believe that our dramatic reductions are the result of intelligence-driven community policing and our focus on repeat violent offenders; which has been greatly enhanced through the use of technology.”
But the decline must not be taken as an excuse to not pay attention. Whether or not we knew Fuentes, Artis, Tibbs, Johns or the 139 others slain last year, their stories are a part of who are are and how we live our lives in the District of Columbia.
With that in mind I introduce Homicide Watch D.C., a community-oriented homicide site that will provide clear information about homicide cases and the tools necessary to record, report and share our experiences and losses.
Organized around the victims, this site provides context for each crime, linking a victim’s biographical details to the investigation and prosecution of his or her death. From social networking profiles to obituaries, news coverage and court documents, all public information related to a case will appear on the victim’s page. Friends, family members, neighbors and others are encouraged to contribute.”
A Washington Post feature on them is in the works and we’ll provide those links when the story hits.
Laura told the reporter that aspects of wmrw served as an inspiration for her project. We’re honored that she chose us as a model and are awestruck by the seemingly endless work they have ahead of them.
We hope HW.org is able to grow a similar community as active and passionate as the one we have here.
More on HomicideWatch is here.