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Mayor Bowser Launches Full Deployment of Body-Worn Cameras to All MPD Patrol Officers, Highlights Public Safety Successes

Thursday, December 15, 2016

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser joined Interim Police Chief Peter Newsham and officers at the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) First District Station to offer congratulations on the full deployment of body-worn cameras to all patrol officers, and thank them for their leadership in helping to reduce crime in Washington, DC.

With more than 2,600 officers outfitted with body-worn cameras, MPD leads the nation with the most number of officers deployed with body-worn cameras. 

“The deployment of more than 2,600 body-worn cameras to our MPD patrol officers underscores our commitment to transparency and accountability in police-resident engagements,” said Mayor Bowser. “It is one of many steps we’ve taken over the past two years – along with a series of innovative services and programs – to build safer and stronger communities, and as a result we are experiencing reductions in crime across the board.” 

Mayor Bowser and Interim Chief Newsham highlighted significant improvements in public safety, citing this year’s reductions in several categories of crime, including:

  • Overall crime is down 5% this year, with violent crime down 8%
  • 17% decrease in homicides
  • 16% decrease in burglaries
  • 12% decrease in robberies
  • 16% decrease in stolen motor vehicles

“The men and women of MPD work tirelessly at keeping every community in the District safe,” said Interim Chief Newsham. “The use of body-worn cameras will benefit our community and the Department by improving police services, increasing accountability for individual interactions, and strengthening police-community relations.” 

In addition to body-worn cameras and overall crime reductions, the Mayor and Interim Chief also discussed public safety initiatives that are changing the District’s approach to fighting crime, including:

  • Hiring Additional Prosecutors: To increase prosecutors’ capacity to focus on violent crime cases, Mayor Bowser partnered with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Office of the Attorney General to provide funding for the hiring of additional prosecutors. These new prosecutors will work on violent crime cases and ensure that victims receive justice.
  • Expanded Social and Mental Health Services: Because the solution to reducing crime cannot be solely focused on law enforcement, over the past several months, the Bowser Administration has expanded the use of the Community Stabilization Program. This innovative program provides critical emergency responses from agencies providing social and mental health services to communities impacted by violent crime where there is a strong likelihood for retaliatory violence. The program’s goal is to intervene directly with families in order to break the cycle of violence.
  • Tackling Truancy and Recidivism: The District’s Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants plays an important role in Mayor Bowser’s comprehensive approach to building a safer, stronger District of Columbia. With recent grant awards totaling more than $24 million, the agency provides critical support to community organizations that focus on serving crime victims and returning citizens. The agency also manages highly important programs that focus on reducing truancy – a critical component to preventing youth and young adults from engaging in destructive behavior.
  • Public Safety Academy: To train the next generation of police recruits – and to provide our residents with a pathway to the middle class and public service - Mayor Bowser launched the Public Safety Academy at Anacostia High School. This innovative new program allows students the opportunity to earn college credits and participate in valuable internships that will prepare them for a career serving their communities.
  • Security Camera Rebate Program: In order to partner with residents and businesses, Mayor Bowser launched a highly popular security camera rebate program that reimburses the purchase and installation of security cameras on the exteriors of privately-owned properties. To date, the program has issued rebates to more than 1,200 property and business owners, which has funded the installation of more than 3,300 security cameras throughout the District. Footage from the cameras can provide essential information for MPD officers investigating crimes occurring at or near the property.

Mayor Bowser’s Safer, Stronger DC initiative encompasses a wide range of programs and services for District residents to improve public safety. For more information about Safer, Stronger DC visit mayor.dc.gov/saferstronger.