The Mayor of Washington D.C., who previously supported defunding the police, has changed her mind and introduced an anti-crime act. Here’s the whole story.
In response to a surge in crime in Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser has introduced an anti-crime package aimed at bolstering police authority and revising some of the policing reforms that were initiated following the murder of George Floyd.
Make Acronyms A Crime
The proposed legislation, the Addressing Crime Trends (ACT) Now Act, is designed to combat organized retail theft, address loitering around open-air drug markets, and allow for additional charges against individuals who commit crimes while wearing masks.
Mayor Bowser emphasized her belief in the commitment of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to constitutional and fair policing.
She explained that the legislation intends to support the department in addressing some of the negative consequences of the Comprehensive Police Adjustment and Injustice Amendment Act.
“Keep the Trust of Our City”
“MPD continues to be a leader in fair and constitutional policing across this nation. They continue to work every day to have and keep the trust of our city. And this legislation won’t change that. It will, however, support the department in dealing with some of the negative consequences of the Comprehensive Police Adjustment and Injustice Amendment Act. Some of the changes that were made just don’t match the daily practice of safe and effective policing,” the Mayor stated.
Bowser pointed out that specific changes made under the previous act did not align with the practical requirements of effective and safe policing.
She cited instances like incidental contact with individuals, body-worn camera footage for report writing, and police pursuits of criminals. The D.C. Council is expected to vote on this proposed legislation in the upcoming months.
This move comes more than three years after the tragic death of George Floyd, which prompted significant police reforms, particularly in progressive cities like Washington, D.C.
At that time, Mayor Bowser was among the prominent figures who called for defunding the police in 2020 shortly after Floyd’s death.
However, the city has witnessed a notable increase in crime and violence over the past three years.
The latest D.C. crime statistics reveal a 33 percent rise in homicides compared to the previous year, a 70 percent increase in robberies, and a 41 percent surge in total violent crime.
Overall, crime has increased by 27 percent this year, with notable upticks in sex abuse incidents, assaults with dangerous weapons, and property crimes.
The proposed legislation aims to provide the MPD with tools to limit loitering by allowing the police chief to declare a drug-free zone for up to 120 hours.
This would disrupt and prevent people from congregating in public spaces for the purchase, sale, or use of illegal drugs, providing a mechanism for the community and law enforcement to collaborate in curbing illegal activities.
Tipping the Scale
Additionally, the legislation would allow officers to review body-camera footage before completing their reports, offer police more flexibility in engaging in vehicle pursuits, and clarify what information can be disclosed when an officer faces disciplinary action.
“Loud and Clear”
Mayor Bowser emphasized the importance of addressing public safety concerns and communicating that violence is unacceptable in the city.
She acknowledged the public’s call for solutions to enhance the public safety system and deter criminal behavior, stating, “Residents have expressed loud and clear to me in every venue you can imagine across this city that they are looking for solutions to help fill the gaps in our public safety ecosystem.”
“No Common Sense”
The proposed legislation has led to an outcry online from some commenters, with one user posting, “There is no common sense in these Dem/Lib cities. Put criminals in jail… not hard to figure that one out.”
The Fat Lady Sings
Another online poster, who supported the change, commented, “Good, the general public supports police and have a need for their families to be safer.” Another said, “Cue the music, time for the big lady to sing.”
More Cops, More Crime
However, others pointed out that the lack of police was not the main issue, with one commenter stating, “D.C. has lots of cops.
On foot, on bicycles and motorcycles, in cars, in SUVs, on horseback, in helicopters etc. Yet, the last time I was there, I saw crime out in the open during that day and night.
Often, crimes were being perpetuated within sight of the Police, but the cops didn’t do anything.”
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