(Washington, DC) – Today, at a White House meeting with President Biden and leaders from across the nation to discuss gun crime reduction strategies, Mayor Muriel Bowser shared the District’s comprehensive plan to reduce gun violence. The Mayor also advocated for federal support of amendments to the District’s bifurcated judicial system to improve public safety outcomes. Following the meeting, the Mayor released the following statement.
“We know ending the scourge of gun violence requires every level of government working together to get illegal guns off our streets, hold people accountable when they choose to use guns in our communities, and prevent violence by creating opportunity for those who need it. In DC, we are making historic investments in not just a whole-of-government approach to reducing gun violence, but a whole-of-community approach – in evidence-based strategies to prevent violence and expand opportunity. We also know that DC is unique in the American criminal justice system, and today as DC Government fully returned to in-person work – in large part because of the efforts of the Biden-Harris Administration to distribute the vaccine and reopen our nation – I was able to deliver the message that we also need our federal partners to fully provide services. It is encouraging to have a President and Attorney General committed to working with local leaders to maximize federal resources deployed in cities to address not only law enforcement strategies, but also community violence prevention strategies.”
During the discussion, Mayor Bowser highlighted opportunities for the federal government to support DC’s public safety initiatives, including the full reopening of local courts and supervision agencies – both of which are under federal control – and sustained support for law enforcement and prevention efforts which may require longer lead times to deliver measurable results, as well as authorize mayoral control over the deployment of the DC National Guard.
The Mayor also highlighted an overall decrease in violent crimes in the District that has been eclipsed by an alarming increase in gun violence across very concentrated communities. For example, research suggests that 80% of all local violence is caused by less than 2% of the population. Additionally, according to 2020 District crime data, there are 151 city blocks, or 2% of all city blocks, that account for 41% of all of the gunshot-related crimes in the District. The District is approaching this current trend of gun violence with a whole-of-government approach with initial funding from federal American Rescue Plan resources.
The District’s whole-of-government approach includes police-based strategies implemented by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) including the continued use of the Gun Recovery Unit and Violence Reduction Unit, the Summer Crime Initiative, and the Police Cadet Program, which supports the hiring of DC residents as MPD officers. The District is also increasing its efforts around intensive community collaboration. This strategy incorporates non-law enforcement strategies, including hospital-based intervention, community-based violence intervention, peer leadership violence prevention programs like Credible Messengers and Roving Leaders, and the Gun Violence Prevention Emergency Operations Center.
With local and federal funding, the District will invest more than $214 million in gun violence prevention and related services over the next four years, as reflected in Mayor Bowser’s proposed Fiscal Year 2022 #FairShot Budget. American Rescue Plan investments supporting the whole-of-government approach include:
- $8.2M for 52 additional violence interrupters and 6 additional credible messengers
- $4.5M for the Pathways Program to serve an additional 100 individuals at risk of gun violence and $1.9M to provide more wrap-around support
- $1.9M for training, outreach, and new case management system
- $1.9M to expand trauma-informed mental health services
- $4.4M for temporary safe housing and relocation assistance
- $11.4M to support returning citizens with financial assistance through community-based organizations, financial coaching, and peer navigators as they transition back into the community
- $1.5M for community investment grants to carry out neighborhood action plans in focus neighborhoods
- $1.9M expanded recreation opportunities
- $9M in capital investments in priority neighborhoods
Dedicated Employment Opportunities
- $5.6M to create 110 dedicated employment opportunities at the Department of Public Works (DPW) for individuals at risk of gun violence
- $4.6M for Project Empowerment to serve 150 Building Blocks participants, extend subsidized employment from 6 to 12 months, and provide more wrap-around support
- $7M for the Department of Behavioral Health, the District Department of Transportation, and DPW to respond to non-emergency 911 calls for mental health distress, minor traffic crashes, and parking complaints
- $13.8M for youth safety initiatives, including an expansion of Safe Passage, out-of-school activities for youth, and enhanced training for school resource officers