May 16, 2023 - News

Gun violence and homicides increase in D.C.

Police Chief Robert Contee in the center is surrounded by residents, officials, and TV cameras at a public event in response to crime

Police Chief Robert Contee in 2021, after a high-profile shooting on 14th St. NW. Photo: Craig Hudson/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Gun violence and homicides are up in D.C. as Mayor Bowser faces questioning today from the House GOP on Capitol Hill.

By the numbers: Carjackings are up 49% so far this year, after rising for the fifth straight year in 2022.

  • After decreasing last year, violent crime, a category that includes robbery, assault with a dangerous weapon, sex abuse, and homicide, is up 13% so far this year.
  • The 80 homicides so far this year represent a 7% increase over the same time last year, according to D.C. police stats.

Violent crimes with a gun have increased by 54 incidents — a 6% rise from the same point last year.

Context: The continued violence comes after back-to-back years of more than 200 homicides in the nation’s capital.

Driving the news: Mayor Bowser yesterday proposed increasing penalties for illegal gun possession and wants to make it harder for suspects to be released while they await their trial. The mayor said she will send the new public safety legislation to the D.C. Council.

  • Bowser also wants to stiffen penalties for violent crimes that target residents with physical or mental impairments, in addition to crimes committed against transit employees and passengers and those inside recreation centers.

What’s happening: The House GOP is scheduled to probe Bowser on crime and city management as part of Oversight and Reform Committee chair James Comer’s renewed scrutiny of the District.

  • The Senate this week could advance a resolution blocking D.C. criminal justice reforms after it cleared the House last month. D.C. Attorney General Brian Schwalb and other local officials, however, believe the time period Congress had to block the reforms has already expired, DCist reported.
  • D.C. officials have criticized the hearings and overturn efforts as meddling in the city’s self-governance.

Zoom in: Crime has worried D.C.’s attraction industry, including sports teams.

  • This year, Cuneyt reported that Capital One Arena’s owners have beefed up security and expressed concern about downtown. Businesses around Nationals Park also funded street patrols.
  • Last month, a man was shot outside of Capital One Arena in the evening at the same time as the Washington Capitals season finale.

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