Members of the DC Metropolitan Police Department bicycle unit ride up 15th Street Northwest to greet the protesters carrying a 50-foot inflated marijuana joint down the street. /Photo by Nancy Shia @nancy_shia
**FILE** Members of the DC Metropolitan Police Department's bicycle unit (Nancy Shia/The Washington Informer)

Violent crimes are down overall in the District over the first quarter of 2018, according to new Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) statistics.

However, MPD has noted that though homicides have risen slightly in the first three months of the new year, violent crimes reported to the police decreased to 929 from the 1,058 that occurred during the same period a year ago — a 12 percent drop.

However, the number rose for homicides and robberies in which a gun was used.

Homicides increased from 28 a year ago to 32 this year — up nearly 14 percent — while the number of gun robberies in the first quarter rose from 184 in 2017 to 199 this year, an eight percent increase.

As the nation observed the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death on April 4, the late civil rights leader’s son, Martin Luther King III, spoke passionately about crime in the District and around the nation.

He recalled the 39th anniversary of the March on Washington with Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network in 2000.

At the gathering, leaders focused on the issue of police brutality and misconduct and King noted that he, Sharpton and others had gained momentum in having federal legislation pushed through Congress.

“But six to eight months later, the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks occurred and what that did was bolster police authority all over the country because everyone was afraid,” King said.

Meanwhile, local news reports noted that a string of violent crimes ended the last day of March and the first quarter of the year in the District.

Those crimes including stabbings — one in the 1900 block of 9th Street NE at about 5:30 p.m. and one at 14th and K streets in Southeast just before 9 p.m. Two shootings also took place on the last day of the quarter — one at Congress and Upsal streets in Southeast at about 6:30 p.m. and the other in the 600 block of Alabama Avenue SE at 9 p.m.

Mayor Muriel Bowser’s proposed 2019 “Fair Shot” $14.5 billion budget includes a $1.7 million investment in the MPD Cadet Program, allowing the program to expand from 70 participants to 100.

“The cadet program ensures more D.C. residents become MPD officers,” Bowser said.

With an investment of $1.5 million for community-based grants for violence interruption and $575,000 for the Pathways program to support 50 at-risk youth, the proposed budget will expand the reach of the new Safer Stronger Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement, the mayor said.

Bowser’s proposal also includes other public safety improvements like a $900,000 commitment to expand the Immigration Justice Legal Services grant program which defends the rights of immigrant residents through informational programs and direct legal aid.

The proposal also includes $11 million to continue funding for third-party ambulance services and $4.6 million to hire 80 additional officers at the Department of Corrections.

Bowser also is calling for $2.4 million for the hiring of 42 new dual-role firefighter/paramedics. The budget proposal includes $22 million in capital investments in fiscal 2019 and $76.4 million through a six-year capital improvements plan for the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department for emergency vehicles and apparatus; and $4.7 million in capital investments in fiscal 2019 and $36 million through a six-year capital improvement plan for MPD vehicles.

“This budget is about giving more Washingtonians a fair shot,” Bowser said. “From investing in tax credits that make child care more affordable to expanding programs that allow seniors to age in place, the Fair Shot budget will do more to make Washington, D.C., a place where people of all backgrounds and in all stages of life are able to live and thrive.”

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...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.