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Mayor Bowser Announces New Safer, Stronger DC Legislation

Monday, May 15, 2023

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser was joined by Acting Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Lindsey Appiah, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert J. Contee, III, and members of her Administration as she introduced new Safer, Stronger DC legislation as well as a Mayor’s Order directing deputy mayors to submit recommendations for a whole-of-government approach to crime reduction. The new Safer, Stronger DC legislation comes the week after Mayor Bowser held a public safety summit where she brought together local and federal public safety officials and partners to discuss what is working, what is not working, and what needs to change to improve public safety in DC. The package of legislation will address identified gaps in the District’s public safety and justice ecosystem.

“We have heard from our public safety partners and from members of the community about the gaps that exist in our public safety ecosystem – this package of legislation will address those gaps,” said Mayor Bowser. “This is about making sure we have the tools we need to build a safer, stronger DC and protect the overwhelming majority of people in our city who are doing the right thing and who just want to be able to enjoy our beautiful city and our fantastic neighborhoods.”

The commonsense legislation Mayor Bowser is sending the DC Council will:

  • Enhance penalties for violent crimes that victimize or target vulnerable residents with physical or mental impairments as well as expanded protections for transit and for-hire vehicle employees, transit passengers, and people at rec centers.
  • Increase penalties for illegal gun possession.
  • Make strangulation a type of felony assault (strangulation is a key indicator that domestic violence will become deadly).
  • Strengthen provisions that allow individuals to petition for early release to ensure the voices of victims and community receive proper consideration.
  • Provide greater discretion for the Courts to determine who should be held pre-trial, including defendants previously convicted of a violent crime while they await trial for a new violent crime.
  • Increase the reimbursement for the District’s popular Private Security Camera System Incentive Program which strengthens public safety by increasing the network of cameras available to assist MPD in solving crimes and closing cases.  
  • Require the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council to report more data on process and outcomes.
  • Proposes collecting DNA earlier in the process for First Degree sexual offenses after the probable cause hearing.
  • Supervisory agencies shall, upon request of MPD, provide MPD with location and identification data collected from any detection device necessary in conducting a criminal law enforcement investigation.
  • Expands the District’s representation on the DC Sentencing Commission.

“While we work to create a policy environment in our city that supports safety, the entire public safety and justice ecosystem must be healthy, well-resourced and collaborative for enforcement to be successful,” said Acting Deputy Mayor Lindsey Appiah.

The deputy mayors’ recommendations for violence prevention, intervention, and reduction are to be submitted to the City Administrator within 45 days.

These updates also come two weeks after Mayor Bowser and Chief Contee announced the new Focused Patrol and Community Engagement Strategy which utilizes data to identify specific areas in each police district and employs focused patrols for proactive policing, community engagement, and problem solving within a small geographical area identified through data analysis. In addition to last week’s public safety summit, earlier this year, the Mayor held public safety meetings with school leaders and Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners.

To view the Mayor’s Order, visit HERE.