Violent crime is soaring in the nation’s capital as legislators in Washington, D.C. pitch new laws that would make it easier to prosecute people.
As of Nov. 13, year-over-year data from the D.C. Metropolitan Police show that homicides have increased 32 percent.
Robberies have more than doubled, climbing 68 percent from last year.
Motor vehicle thefts have risen a staggering 98 percent, while other types of thefts are up 22 percent, and arsons have increased by 125 percent.
In total, according to police figures, violent crime has risen by 39 percent, while property crimes have risen 25 percent, and all crime is up 27 percent from last year.
The chilling numbers are dogging local lawmakers who are seeking out policy changes to better protect the public from the predations of criminals.
“The violence we’re seeing in our streets is not acceptable, it is not normal, and it cannot be left unaddressed,” Council member Brooke Pinto said during a recent hearing involving law enforcement officials discussing proposed legislation.
Among the proposals being considered is new legislation that will make it easier to prosecute individuals who committed carjackings and increase penalties for gun offenses. The hearing piggybacked on safety laws recently touted by the city’s top official.
Last month, Mayor Muriel Bowser unveiled the Addressing Crime Trends Now Act (ACT Now), which aimed to hold criminals accountable and keep neighborhoods safe.
“This legislation reflects what our community is telling us: they want appropriate accountability for those who choose to commit crimes and inflict fear in our neighborhoods,” said Bowser. “At a time when we’re dealing with historically low staffing levels at MPD, we’re making common-sense changes that recognize the day-to-day operational challenges our officers experience and that will better support safe and effective policing.”
Earlier in the year, Washington, D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee said that the average homicide suspect has had 11 prior arrests before they commit a murder.
“What we’ve got to do, if we really want to see homicides go down, is keep bad guys with guns in jail,” he said. “Because when they’re in jail, they can’t be in communities shooting people.”
He added, “So when people talk about what we’re gonna do different, or what we should do different, what we need to do different, that’s the thing that we need to do different.”