It's August, and early today, the number of homicides in,Washington, D.C.,reached 101, almost passing the total number of killings that occurred in the entirety of,2014. Nine of this year's murders have happened in the last eight days.
These numbers come from the Washington Post, which reports that the nation's capital has seen a 36% increase in homicides this year, even though the city's crime rate in first six months of this year was relatively low. In fact, D.C. has had two decades of "nearly falling" crime rates, the Post reports, leaving few, largely unsatisfying explanations for this summer's jump in violent crime. It seemed to catch everyone off-guard, including Mayor Muriel Bowser, who held meetings earlier this year about her plans to reduce gun violence. This is her first summer in office.
It should be noted, as the Post reports, New York City, Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia all saw a rise in number of homicides by mid-July, as well as increases in gun violence. Baltimore, which at times seems like it is still reeling from the murder of Freddie Gray this spring, has seen over 200 homicides this year.,
But with schools opening on Monday, Mayor Bowser has been in the news repeatedly trying to calm the public and reiterate her position that this violence is "unacceptable." On Tuesday, Bowser visited the crime scene of a 12-year-old boy's mother who had been killed; she called it one of the saddest days of her life later that night at a community gathering.,
Mayor Bowser and her office have offered various explanations for the rise in violence: synthetic drugs (which seemed to explain of the more truly heinous attacks), illegal guns, the prevalence of repeat offenders on the streets. But in the media and online, many have voiced skepticism that her team has a real grasp of the situation.
awaiting Mayor Bowser on new anti-crime initiatives. pic.twitter.com/EQoO6jR9Ba— Tom Sherwood (@tomsherwood) August 19, 2015
& the reporter called out mayor Bowser on comments she made while ruining on the importance of a police task force to deal w/ violent crime— Diana Lynn (@LifeandDimSum) August 22, 2015
You know what her response was? "That task force isn't a priority right now." Oh really?— Diana Lynn (@LifeandDimSum) August 22, 2015
Well, what is a priority right now when violent crime is trending +30% to LY? Let me guess, real estate development?— Diana Lynn (@LifeandDimSum) August 22, 2015
Watching the news Mayor Muriel Bowser on DC crime concern... Damn 3 year old girl got shot smh— YOUNG OG (@SS_Capo) July 30, 2015
94 murders in DC and its August most in SE 😪— Kimberly's Son (@Krizstuhfur) August 19, 2015
Mayor Bowser is now changing the blame for rising crime from synthetic drugs to guns. It's like a coin toss in DC. https://t.co/Sk4c5ODdyW— Acqunetta Anderson (@Ward4Anderson) August 19, 2015
For now, Mayor Bowser and D.C. police chief Cathy L. Lanier are doubling the reward for turning in illegal guns to $2,500. Bowser had also supported Lanier's idea to fill 100 police desk jobs with civilians, putting more officers on the street patrol.
[via the Washington Post]