In May, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Metropolitan Police Department launched the 2021 Summer Crime Prevention Initiative.

According to officials, the initiative counts as a coordinated effort to reduce violent crime in specific areas in the District through strategic prevention and collaborative enforcement.

“We bring the Summer Crime Prevention Initiative back each year because the data shows us that it drives down crime in the neighborhoods we target,” Bowser said.

“The reason this initiative works is that it’s not just about policing and it’s not just about what MPD is doing — it’s about engaging people, providing opportunity and working across the D.C. government to bring resources and support to residents who need them.”

Like most mayors in U.S.cities, D.C. Mayor Bowser has expressed an eagerness to return to normal as restrictions to quell the coronavirus lift.

But like many of her counterparts, she must now contend with another pandemic: a crime wave that has suddenly gripped nearly every major city in the country.

Troubled officials say that while crimes like rape, robbery and theft have declined this year, homicide rates continue to skyrocket.

In Chicago, from May 25, 2020, to May 25, 2021, there were reportedly 818 shooting deaths and 4,562 shootings — about 60 percent increases in both categories.

Murders in Portland, Oregon, Philadelphia and New York, have also risen significantly within the past year.

The New York Times reported that some police officials anticipate an even bleaker summer especially with no apparent bipartisan legislation in the works to keep an increase in both crime or gun violence from materializing.

“I am very sad to say that this summer is going to be a long summer for the American people,” Art Acevedo, the Miami police chief, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Some individuals have vowed to stay home because of rising crime.

“For my family, we won’t be flying or traveling any time soon until,” said District tech executive Jeffrey Lee.

Attorney Joseph Gutheinz Jr. noted that he stays in well-lit and populated areas to avoid harm when he’s outside. “I avoid loud, angry and drunk individuals,” Gutheinz revealed.

“The trick is not to make yourself a target or a victim. Keep your eyes open and your temper level. Based on this approach, a big city does not scare me off. But it would if I had kids,” he said.

Like Mayor Bowser’s crime prevention initiative, leaders in cities across the nation continue to take a proactive approach.

“We owe it to all of our residents, in every neighborhood, to bring peace and vibrancy back,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.

In Philadelphia, a new initiative, “All Hands on Deck,” includes city police, the FBI, DEA and Homeland Security as a means of combating crime.

In New York, the State Assembly has rolled out a “Restore Order Anti-Crime Initiative” directed at halting escalating murders in cities including Syracuse, Albany, Rochester, Buffalo and the Big Apple.

Portland, Oregon’s City Council recently approved a multi-pronged, multi-bureau coordinated effort to address gun violence in that city. The initiative creates a new shooting response team and provides more than $4 million in grants to community-based organizations.

Earlier this month, the first “End Gun Violence Citywide Conference” took place in the District.

Organized by The TRIGGER Project, the event featured more than 80 community leaders and organizations. It included players from the Washington Mystics, the go-go group Back Yard Band and offered breakout sessions for each ward.

“MPD is laser-focused on providing targeted areas with all the available resources and utilizing evidence-based and intelligence-driven strategies to combat crime, while partnering with other law enforcement agencies, community organizations and advocates with a collective goal to reduce crime,” said Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee III.

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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