District leaders focus on curbing city’s increase in homicides

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Mayor Bowser made an appearance on Fox 5 Wednesday morning, January 16th, to reiterate her vow to curb D.C.’s crime rate, especially the city’s recent spike in homicides.  So far this year, the number of killings in the District is 12, up 140 percent compared to the same period one year ago. 

Now in her second term as Mayor, Bowser recounted her very first year in office, remembering: “We threw everything we had… programs that would get people into jobs, better coordination with our federal partners.  And we saw the [homicide] numbers go down.  We’ll see them go down again.” 

To this end, she recently extended the contract of Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham, saying… “he knows how to deploy our forces and be smart about it.”   Both Bowser and Newsham have talked about focusing their attention on removing illegal guns. 

Councilmember Jack Evans has also gone on record stating he believes guns are a major factor in D.C.’s violent crimes.  When asked at a recent ANC 2B meeting about D.C.’s homicide rate, Evans called the increase “alarming,” and suggested illicit gun seizure would help to prevent “random shootings.”

And District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine is continuing a violence interruption pilot program funded through private donations to his office and run by the nonprofit National Association of Returning Citizens, called Cure the Streets.  Since the program’s implementation in some areas of Wards 5 and 8, those areas haven’t seen any murders.  “There have been several instances in which violent interrupters have de-escalated situations that could have become violent,” he said.