Stop Youth Crime in DC: Will you join this email movement?

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Topic: Stop Youth Crime in DC: Will you join this email movement?

General Discussion June 1, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Stop Youth Crime in DC: Will you join this email movement?

I have been an avid reader of PoP for years, and I greatly appreciate the awareness he has raised about crimes, particularly those committed by youths, in DC.  Based on what I’ve read here, I decided to try to help raise awareness among our elected officials of the concerns that many DC residents have about youth-related crime.  To do this, I drafted a letter that I think captures the sentiments of many people in a thoughtful, professional and reasonable way.  I hope that readers will send the letter, which I put on a webpage that you can find at, to our elected officals, and encourage their friends and neighbors to do the same.  I’ve already emailed it in under my real name.  The email addresses are for the Mayor, the Councilmembers and a Legislative Assistant for Congresswoman Norton.
I recognize that some will disagree with this approach and the contents of the letter, but I think many more will support it.  It certainly won’t solve the problem, but I think it’s a step in the right direction.   Lastly, I am not planning on posting anything else to the blog site above, with the exception of any responses by elected officials.  It’s only there as a placeholder for the letter.
Does anyone think this is a good idea?  Will you share it with your friends and send it, too?
Jane Citizen
To:  [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
Subject: Stop Youth Crime in DC
I am writing to express my exasperation with 1.) the crime and violence being perpetrated by youth in the District of Columbia, 2.) the inability of the legal and justice systems in the District to act as a deterrent to this behavior and 3.) the seeming lack of interest and/or will by our elected leaders to address the issue, particularly by putting into place and enforcing laws, policies and procedures that protect law-abiding citizens rather than coddling thugs simply due to their age. 
Although overall crime rates in the District may be falling, the number of harassments, robberies, break-ins and beatings being committed by youth in the District is much too high and taking place with disturbing regularity and in very public settings.  To make matters worse, many of these crimes are going unreported, because it has become common knowledge — based in large part on statements made by the police when crimes are, in fact, reported — that little can be done to punish the offenders due to their age based on DC’s laws.  It is clear that youths engaging in criminal behavior are fully aware that they operate with impunity, since the hands of law enforcment are tied and our elected leaders refuse to acknowledge or address — including through stiffer penalties — the serious problem in our midst.
District residents of all races, ages, classes, religions and sexual orientations as well as both genders continue to be victimized by these youths, and addressing their behavior will benefit all segments of society. 
It is your duty to use your fully authority to ensure that District residents are safe from crime and violence, including that being committed by youths.  Although I continue to support social programs, interventions and opportunities designed to assist at-risk youth, I strongly urge you to couple the current carrots of assistance with effective sticks of deterrence by strengthening our laws, regulations and policies to prevent youths who engage in criminal behavior from feeling little-to-no consequence of their actions. 
I look forward to hearing your public statements on how you intend to put in place concrete measures that protect the law-abiding residents of the District by deterring the criminal behavior of some of our youth.  Please be aware that silence and inaction from you on the issue of youth criminal behavior will be noticed and kept in mind during the next election. 
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
Jane Citizen
123 ABC Street NW

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The following is the very short, half-hearted, unconvincing and exampleless response I received from Councilwoman Mary Cheh:
Thanks for you concern. I agree that we need both rehabilitative and preventative programs and effective criminal enforcement and incapacitation. I have supported many measures in both areas.

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