Safer, Stronger DC

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Bookmark and Share

from the desk of the mayor 


Dear Washingtonians,

The District has lost the lives of 103 residents to homicide in 2015. Every life is precious, every loss is tragic. And we do not sit idly by as our community suffers.

Over the past few weeks, I have updated you on the increase in violent crime in DC, and what my Administration is doing to address it. We have put more police officers on our streets, walking beats. With the support of the community, we have ramped up our efforts to find and arrest criminals, resulting in a higher crime closure rate than most cities our size. We developed new strategies to fight synthetic drugs. And we launched initiatives to strengthen the relationship between MPD officers and the community – including our Body Worn Camera program.

I want to thank my public safety team and our law enforcement officers, who are working around the clock to keep DC safe.

We are acting with vigor and we are making progress. And there is more we will do. Today, I announced a public safety agenda that will make DC safer and stronger. The agenda, which you can view HERE, includes a number of legislative and administrative measures that will help us prevent crime, and address crime when it happens. Be sure to continue to check for updates.

We will:

  • Continue to have more police officers patrolling the streets - by using overtime and by hiring civilians to perform administrative tasks so that officers are walking beats and not filing paperwork.
  • Give the police new tools to address crime, including better access to data and evidence to catch violent criminals. And create financial incentives for business, churches and homeowners to install security cameras, which will deter crime and identify criminals.
  • Increase penalties for anyone who commits a violent crime in our public transit system, or at our parks and rec centers.
  • And strengthen our laws so that convicted criminals are less likely to return to the community and commit another violent crime.

There have been erroneous media reports about what my proposal will and will not do. I want to be clear about what I mean by making sure violent criminals do not have an opportunity to repeatedly harm our neighborhoods:

  1. If a violent criminal is on pretrial supervision and violates a stay away order or allows his or her GPS bracelet to be damaged or to go uncharged, he or she can be held for at least 72 hours.
  2. If a violent convict is released early under supervision, their living quarters will be subject to searches for illegal guns.
  3. And if a violent convict commits another violent crime, he or she will have a higher standard of proof that they are not a danger to neighborhoods while awaiting trial.

These measures are targeted to violent individuals who have been convicted or arrested for crimes like murder, armed robbery, and sexual assault. The District is not a stop-and-frisk city, and we are not going to become one.

I recognize that fighting crime is only part of the equation. That is why my agenda includes more support for communities that have seen significant violence. In the coming week, we will initiate a comprehensive, neighborhood-focused approach to offer individualized family services in neighborhoods afflicted by violence – like Congress Heights, Benning Terrace and Woodland Terrace. We will also offer micro grants to community organizations, individuals, and nonprofits to become part of this effort. These grants will be driven by community needs and priorities.

We also know that some neighborhoods have more obstacles to accessing opportunities than others. That is why, today, I announced that we will reopen the former Malcolm X Elementary School in Congress Heights as a temporary pop-up center. We will work with community leaders to ensure that the space meets the needs of the residents. This former place of learning will be revived as an opportunity center -where people can overcome obstacles by gaining access to services like job training, health and wellness programs, and recreation.

What I have outlined above is only a part of my agenda. I will also bring proposals to the Council that will increase the employment readiness of our returning citizens, and will strengthen police-community relations – by doing things like eliminating pre-textual traffic stops, and amending the misdemeanor assault on a police officer law.

You can expect to hear more in the coming weeks. When Councilmembers return on September 15, I will ask them to give my proposals their full consideration. I do not expect the Council to adopt my proposals word-for-word – but I do expect immediate action to safeguard our residents. And I will reach out to you to enlist your support as well.

Everything in my agenda is about making our city safer and stronger. In all that we do, we will continue to create pathways to the middle class. When people have a choice, they choose opportunity - they choose hope. And there is no better way to fight crime than by bringing opportunity and hope to every corner of Washington, DC.

Together, we will continue to make the District a safer place to live, work and play.


Mayor's Signature

Mayor Muriel Bowser