Rise in Violent Crime “a public health crisis” – CM Kenyan McDuffie schedules public hearing to address Wed. 5pm


From a press release:

“On Wednesday, September 16, at 5:00 p.m. in Room 500 of the John A. Wilson Building, Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie (D – Ward 5), Chairperson of the Committee on the Judiciary, will hold a public hearing on rising violent crime in the District of Columbia. The hearing will also consider Bill 21-0261, the “Sale of Synthetic Drugs Amendment Act of 2015”.

To date, 110 homicides have been committed this year in the District, representing a 41 percent increase over last year. “These homicides and other violent crimes have devastated families and communities across the city,” said McDuffie. “The purpose of this hearing is to discuss the steps that the city is taking to prevent and respond to violent crime, to address the underlying causes, and to prioritize community responses to what we must view as a public health crisis.”

Councilmember McDuffie has been discussing holistic strategies to combat crime in the District with Mayor Muriel Bowser, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier, representatives from federal partners, residents, and national and local organizations. As a result of those discussions and additional research and outreach by his office, McDuffie will be introducing a legislative package in September to offer community- and evidence-based solutions to violent crime.

WHO: Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie
Chairperson, Committee on the Judiciary

WHEN: Wednesday, September 16, at 5:00 p.m.

WHERE: John A. Wilson Building
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Room 500, Council Chambers”

39 Comment

  • Hoping that this results in more than just talk. The spike in crime this summer has been unreal. This is the first time in over a decade living in DC that I’ve felt the need to be indoors by 9-10 pm. No way would I be out walking around long after dark in the current environment.

    • Think you’re overreacting a tad.

      • That’s not really fair. While it’s true that my chances of getting shot are probably just as low as they were a year ago, the rise in non-life-ending violent crime, and the brashness with which it is being committed in the district, are disturbing. You don’t get to tell someone that they aren’t justified in feeling unsafe.

      • Not in my neighborhood I’m not. I’ve been watching the crime stats all summer and there are loads of violent crimes once the darkness sets in. The most disturbing thing is the type of crime– I used to look at the crimes and think “that couldn’t have been me” (gang related, etc) but now there are a lot more random acts and muggings of people otherwise minding their own beeswax. Not worth the risk.

      • Ally

        I don’t. Been here 20+ years. This Summer’s been weird. I don’t go out after dark anymore either. And I used to all the time. Of course, in my neighborhood, the criminals are also ambitious enough to be doing morning commute muggings lately. Hopefully the police will get it under control soon.

  • Kind of, but not totally related, living in DC long enough can alter the way you feel and think about security. When I was visiting a relative’s “very safe” LA suburb not long ago, I had trouble sleeping just thinking about all of the doors in their house (including two sliding doors and one front door where the window was close to the doorknob). I was like, don’t you guys feel unsafe not barring these windows or having a front door with a window so close to the doorknob? I literally found myself listening for all sorts of sounds late into the night. As we walked at night on the sidewalks, I was looking behind us and watching with vigilance, and they thought it was crazy. They said, you’re not in DC anymore- just chill. I’ve also found myself telling family in the Midwest to hide bags and books under car seats, etc. They usually say, thanks, but we don’t have to do that sort of thing here. You can relax. Living here for over 12 years has totally changed me!

    • Yep I’m the same way. Visiting a suburb of Portland, friends left a laptop visible in the back seat of their unlocked car while they ducked in to a shop for 15-20 minutes, like it was nothing.

    • I do the exact same thing when visiting family back in Texas! I’ve lived in DC for 11 years now and it’s totally warped my sense of safety. 🙂

    • Just came back from London and crashed for a few nights with my buddy who recently bought a house in South London in a neighborhood that is “quite dodgy.” He kept insisting that it’s not a great area and telling me that I needed to be careful. Honestly? The place was just more ethnically diverse than most areas in London and it felt like Mount Pleasant. It certainly felt safer than Columbia Heights and Georgia Ave.
      DC really does warp your perceptions.

    • Agreeing with this. When I lived abroad I felt totally safe being out WELL after dark, and in fact, that’s when most families, etc. DID go out to spend time outdoors or do errands! When I lived in the suburbs of LA, I was alert but not hyper-aware. In DC I’m always on VERY high alert, even during the daytime.

    • We went on a trip to Japan last fall and the safety we felt walking around was unbelievably liberating. We went exploring way deep into the alleyways of Kyoto, areas I wouldn’t enter in DC even during the day, and felt no fear. I actually witnessed a waitress chasing a customer down to return cash he’d left accidently. It’s crazy. It’s not like everyone in Japan is rich – its totally 100% cultural.

    • brookland_rez

      Anybody that thinks DC is bad needs to seriously visit Baltimore.

      • HaileUnlikely

        Shall we replace “Taxation without Representation” with “Baltimore is Worse” on our license plates? Or “It Used to Be Worse”? Seriously, we passed our homicide total from last year with a full third of a year to go. Reminders that some time was worse or some place is worse get old fast.

  • I hope CM McDuffie wil really dig into the issue. I have lots of unanswered questions, which I’m sure the MPD stats department can answer, if only someone would ask. What are the stats for other violent crimes. Are they increasing like the murder rate? Is crime increasing city-wide, or is the increase concentrated in certain areas? How many officers does MPD currently have, how many are in the hiring pipeline, how many are on the way out? How many do they want?
    What is happening to the people carrying all of the illegal guns the police have been seizing? Are they actually being charged? Do they go to jail? Does the US Attorney and/or Attorney General need more lawyers? Are charges being dropped due to lack of resources?
    What’s happening with the crime lab? How about inter-agency cooperation with Maryland and Virginia?
    Unfortunately, there’s no one doing good crime reporting in DC. The Post doesn’t notice unless a white person gets hurt, and the City Paper is understaffed and too busy chasing around trivialities. We really need the Council to take an interest, and McDuffie seems like a good person to do so.

  • CM McDuffie: I can not make the hearing on 9/16, but ask you to adopt the following legislative remedies: 1. $10,000 fine for possession of an illegal/unregistered handgun; 2. Mandatory 6-year prison sentence for first-time possession of an illegal/unregistered handgun, with no eligibility for parol. My neighbors and I are sick and tired — and furthermore, do not want to get shot/killed – by any person or persons who believe that holding/firing a handgun is Washington, DC, is a permissible activity.

    • What. The. Eff. Where is he going to be instead? Let’s bring the hearing to him instead if he can’t make it.

    • To that end, the 17 year old who brought a gun in to an apartment where the 7 year old shot and killed the 3 year old is looking at a max of 4 years in juvenile hall.

      • You got it, straight: Jail for juvenile who determines that it is appropriate to hold an illegal/unregistered gun in DC. Good riddens and throw away the key. My family and neighbors will then be “just slightly less” prone/subject to being killed by random gunfire. WHILE THE WAR ON DRUGS was a travesty and decimated communities of color for generations. A WAR ON GUNS will save the life of my family, neighbors as well as all DC residents.

    • whoops. read your comment too fast. I thought you were quoting him…my bad…carry on.

    • Honestly, I don’t believe that slapping both #1 and #2 on the same person is going to solve the problem. Yes, it will solve it in the short-run by getting these people off the streets, but in the long-run I’m worried that will further contribute to the economic divide that leads so many people into a life of crime (even from childhood) in the first place. Should there be punishment? Yes. Be there’s got to be a solution for reintegration on the other end, or the cycle will start over again in six or ten years when these individuals get out and are ineligible for a variety of jobs and other economic resources.

      • F that. The economic divide exists, but the problem here is a moral divide. Some dipsh*ts have no sense of decency. Tens of thousands of immigrants come into this country every year and pull themselves out of poverty to be small business owners and raise good children. F*ck the millions of people who grow up with all the privileges of citizenship and speak English as a first language, but expect to live off of handouts or violent crime.

  • Can we just go ahead and call this the Unofficial Kenyan McDuffie Mayoral Campaign Kickoff?

  • Hummm… I can’t help but sense that McDufffy is vying for a run in the next election. I think he could make for a great mayor.

    • He certainly talks about himself enough to be mayor.

    • HaileUnlikely

      Shall we replace “Taxation without Representation” with “Baltimore is Worse” on our license plates? Or “It Used to Be Worse”? Seriously, we passed our homicide total from last year with a full third of a year to go. Reminders that some time was worse or some place is worse get old fast.

  • “community- and evidence-based solutions to violent crime”

    I definitely believe that we need to do everything we can to stop (as many as possible of) the next generation from choosing a life of crime. So I am on board with more investments with education, family services, etc., as long as those investments also have a proven record of working.
    But it must be admitted that addressing the current crime problem means recognizing that there are some people of this generation who are not going to be helped and need to be locked up for as long as possible. Sure, there should be programs in prison to help inmates emerge in a position to re-enter society and be productive citizens. But I don’t buy the idea that all that many of the folks who think it’s okay to stick a gun in someone’s face and rob them, or to shoot through a crowd of people to get to one person are going to change their ways on their own.

    • I understand what you’re saying, but this is also the reason why we have an incarceration crisis in this country. How’s that been working out so far? You can’t just lock up every individual who has a proclivity towards violence, as much as that sounds nice. It’s just not a realistic policy outcome.

      • Incarceration of “violent offenders” is exactly what the penitentiary system IS for. Release everybody else — and or fine them heavily, for white collar crime, leaving them in penury — but prison is to keep violent offenders off the street. It just so happens, there is substantial evidence mounting in DC which proves that many of t;his year’s violent/gun crimes have been committed by those with prior records. THE ATTORNEY GENERAL needs to do their job: Stop letting violent, repeat offenders off easy or kept from jail to commit more (likely) violent crime.

        • I do agree with 9th Street Neighbor on this point. The incarceration crisis, from my understanding, has exploded because of all the people locked up for minor drug offenses or third-strike/stealing-milk-from-CVS type offenses.

        • The AG doesn’t handle violent crimes in DC, the US Attorney does.

          • I stand corrected from my error of fact. YES: THE US ATTORNEY needs to do their job and prosecute violent/gun crimes with required ferocity. They currently let these criminals back on the streets in callous disregard for the safety of all DC citizens.

  • And another meeting and another meeting and another meeting. Meanwhile the broken education system never gets resolved or brought up. Just think, IF, the schools were run like they were really supposed to would this spike in violence be ssssooo discussed over and over again and hey, what about parents or a community that really cared about their kids inasmuch that they wouldn’t even allow the slightest infraction, whatever happened to that D.C.??
    That mayor-councilman-police chief-community pow wow thing is just a bit worn out.

  • Okay, yes, I’m glad we can agree that violence is a public health problem. I work in public health and it is so concerning that many people don’t see violence as preventable. Recently, congress BANNED the CDC’s research on violence…. “The CDC is there to look at diseases that need to be dealt with to protect public health,” Boehner said at a press conference last week. “I’m sorry, but a gun is not a disease. Guns don’t kill people — people do. And when people use weapons in a horrible way, we should condemn the actions of the individual and not blame the action on some weapon.”

    There are evidence based solutions to preventing crime, and a spike in crime is a lack of public health infrastructure. Violence needs to be studied in a public health context!

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