City Desk

How Often Do D.C. Students Hear Gunshots? A Lot.

D.C. had 336 incidents of gunfire during school days over the 2011-2012 school year, with more than half of those incidents occurring within 1,000 feet of a public school, a new report from the Urban Institute found.

The study, released today, looked at data collected from Shotspotter, a gunfire-detection system covering about a third of D.C. In the 2011-2012 school year, D.C. had 175 traditional public and public charter schools, and 116 of them were in Shotspotter's range. One thousand feet, the study says, is close enough for the gunshots to be heard from inside.

Nine percent of the 116 schools experienced 48 percent of the gunfire incidents. Four schools, according to the study, were each within 500 feet of nine to 11 incidents of gunfire. These four schools are Booker T. Washington Public Charter School at 14th Street and Florida Avenue NW; E.L. Haynes PCS on Georgia Avenue NW; E.L. Haynes PCS on Kansas Avenue NW; and Meridian PCS near the U Street Metro station.

The study considered the school day anytime between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Twenty-five schools were within 1,000 feet of gunfire from 8 to 9 a.m.—when children typically go to school—and from 3 to 4 p.m.—when children typically leave to go home. The study did not include gunfire that occurred during schools hours on weekend, holidays, half-days, or other times schools were closed.

“Gunfire is incredibly loud,” Sam Bieler, one of the study's co-authors, wrote. “I know there are some concerns that a single gunshot may sound like a firecracker or a backfiring car, but when you’re talking about multiple-round incidents—5, 10, 15, 20 rounds—that’s unmistakable…that sounds like gunfire.”

Bieler and Nancy La Vigne, the study's other author, said the data does not mean these schools are dangerous.

“It’s very easy with that simple narrative to lay the problems at the feet of those communities, which is completely and utterly unfair,” Bieler said. “Crime and gun violence exist within a huge network of economic and social pressures. We’d have to study the whole picture before responsibly saying what the causes are and how we can more effectively remedy these harms.”

Next, Bieler and La Vigne hope to explore how students perceive gunfire and if their data can be used to more effectively deploy school resources and direct law enforcement.

Look at the Urban Institute's interactive map to see where these gunfire incidents occurred.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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  • jeewhiz


    Read more on CNN affiliates WBTV, WSOC, WCNC and News14Carolina.

    (CNN) -- Police in North Carolina shot and killed a
    man running toward them Saturday morning -- but he may have just been
    looking for help after a car wreck.

    Officers responded to a "breaking and entering" 911 call at a home in Charlotte.

    The homeowner told dispatchers that a man had been knocking on her door repeatedly.

    Police say that when they got to the scene, a man matching the caller's description ran toward them.

    One of the officers fired his stun gun, but it was "unsuccessful." Another officer then opened fire, police said.

    Mom: 'Jonathan was so loving'

    Unarmed man gunned down by police

    Jonathan Ferrell died at the scene. He was shot several times.

    He was unarmed.

    Police now believe Ferrell was seeking assistance after crashing his car.

    Florida man mistakenly shot by deputies

  • jeewhiz


    The crash

    Ferrell was 24 and a former football player at Florida A&M University.

    Police found a wrecked car nearby, indicating that he may have been trying to get help.

    "It was a pretty serious accident," Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe told CNN affiliate WSOC.

    The crash was so severe that authorities now believe Ferrell had to climb out of the back window, affiliate WBTV reported.

    He ran to the closest house for help.

    The woman inside thought it was her husband.

    "To her surprise, it was
    an individual that she did not know or recognize," Monroe told WBTV.
    "She immediately closed the door, hit her panic alarm, called 911."

    The man stood outside and "continued to attempt to gain the attention of the homeowner," a police statement said.

  • Typical DC BS

    And this has to do with this story, how?

  • jeewhiz

    Typical white person response

  • Typical DC BS

    Gee, that wonderful DC public school drop-out education comes shining through in your comments, jismwhiz.
    Tell us again the story of how poor, poor Michael Brown was some innocent naif (I know that's a word you have no idea of what it means)?

  • jeewhiz

    Are you typing from your trailer? Are you an inbred chickenshit too? I bet you hate black guys cause your mom or sister loves the real man meat. It's ok there Bucko. May i suggest a penis pump or an implant. Then you wouldn't be so onorous about blacks Pee Wee.


  • Typical DC BS

    You're laughable, Hermie. When women stop running from you (or are you nothing more than the stereotypical baby daddy who doesn't bother to support his own kids - my guess), then your can brag about how ghetto fabulous you are.
    As you have just proven my assertion you are nothing more than a mental midget unable to comprehend logic or use facts to back up your whiny "woe is me" victim mentality, crawl back into your Section 8 hovel, loser.

  • jeewhiz

    you don't know history and ignorant


    "D.C. had 336 incidents of gunfire."

    But who's counting? Eleanor Holmes-Norton?


    Legalize carry, and that number will increase to 672 for ONE MONTH. Then, all of the original 336 scumbag shooters will either be dead or in the hospital, and the ensuing month will be 5 newbies.

    You know, the dirtballs who didn't get the memo....?

  • zaccai free
  • jeewhiz

    Go back to your trailer and ponder the meaning of your meaningless life you hoser.

  • jeewhiz

    Jeewhiz, bet you didn't know your mom coined me "jismwhiz". Have a good day son.

  • Typical DC BS

    Did one of your baby mamas finally leave her phone unattended so you can access these comments again?
    You're pathetic - but you know that already.

  • Typical DC BS

    My mom wouldn't have known where to look for you - she hasn't set foot in the hood since she moved out of Detroit since 1960.
    Still living with mom or are you finally in your own subsidized hovel in SE DC?

  • jeewhiz

    Your mom is an original OG good rat from 1960!?

  • jeewhiz

    Lets get off this merry go round. I'm tired, just got off your mom.


  • jeewhiz

    Police came out to "serve and protect".