Issue

Fighting Crime: A Multi-Faceted Approach to Public Safety

Mayor Bowser’s #1 priority is to keep DC safe. Throwing every resource necessary to stop crime, Mayor Bowser is making investments to address public safety. During her two terms, Mayor Bowser has increased investments in MPD to expand job training and opportunities —including a hiring focus on women and DC residents— provide accessible mental health support, removing illegal guns off the streets and MPD-wide body cameras for accountability. She also initiated a Private Security camera Rebate program that has allowed for nearly 24,000 camera installations across the city.

Reducing Violent Crime

Less than two weeks after first taking office as Mayor of Washington, DC, I addressed a large gathering of clergy and community leaders and told them the following “You have a mayor who hates guns. If it was up to me, we wouldn’t have any handguns in the District of Columbia. I swear to protect the Constitution and what the courts say, but I will do it in the most restrictive way as possible.” That’s been my commitment since the beginning, and it has been a guiding principle during my eight years as Mayor.

Your safety is my number one priority. I am using every possible resource to curb the number of guns in our community; arrest people using guns in our community; and work with all our partners to make sure we are preventing crime before it happens, while also holding people accountable who are making communities less safe for women, our children, our brothers and sons, and our families.

Some elected officials support defunding the police. I believe we need to support our police, but that is only on  Know that I am committed to throwing every resource at the rise in violent crime in DC, and we will keep pushing on all fronts until we see positive results. We will continue to deliver:

  • More focused deployment of MPD in areas with elevated gun activity, including strategic use of overtime. The data shows us that targeted efforts like the Summer and Fall Crime Prevention Initiatives work to drive down crime.
  • More hiring of DC residents, including women and DC residents, to become DC police by increasing funding for MPD hiring and the MPD Cadet Corps Program. I also introduced legislation to make more DC residents eligible for the Cadet Program.
  • I have submitted a budget that funds enough new cadets to get our police force back to 4,000 sworn officers.
  • More trust between MPD and the community. In 2016, we made DC the first major city to require body-worn cameras for all patrol officers. This year, MPD formally adopted a new national best practice training program that prepares officers to perform an intervention on a fellow officer, a subordinate, or a superior officer. The community can continue to support MPD’s work by participating in the Private Security Camera Incentive Program.
  • More intelligence-based policing strategies that help us get to guns before they are used in crimes. We will continue to work with federal law enforcement partners to enhance and expand our capabilities to track and identify illegal guns and get them out of the hands of those intending to do harm.
  • More violence prevention resources where needed, including historic investments in the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement, Violence Interrupters, and Building Blocks.
  • More opportunity for DC residents to choose good-paying jobs or start small businesses. For people involved in violence or at-risk of getting involved in violence, there are other paths they can choose. We expanded those options with the creation of the DC Infrastructure Academy, the Pathways Program, the Aspire to Entrepreneurship ProgramFamilies First Success Centers, and pilot housing programs for returning citizens. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended so much in our lives, including the very fragile public safety ecosystem in our community. Getting back to normal operations in our courts, jail, parole and probation agencies, and job training programs will also tilt the scale toward safer communities. Know that I wake up every morning focused on the safety of our city and willing to create or expand any program that will make our neighborhoods safer.