WASHINGTON — D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said she plans to present new public safety legislation in the next 30 days amid a rash of violent crimes in the nation's capital.
She made the announcement ahead of a public safety walk in the Petworth neighborhood in Northwest just days after a man was stabbed to death inside the Petworth Neighborhood Library.
"You have to have consequences if you use a gun," said Bowser to the crowd outside the Georgia Avenue-Petworth Metro Station. Among the issues that her legislation will address is the lack of "accountability" for perpetrators of gun violence, according to Bowser. She says the plan will not be related to the new criminal code.
"We are a second chance city. So, it is not my view that if you make a mistake that's the end of it for you," Bowser added. She held a similar event in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of D.C. that has reported a series of violent crimes and burglaries in the recent weeks.
"There's no police presence," said Mr. Dorsett, a Petworth resident who was among the people that approached Bowser during her walk. Dorsett says he requested increased police presence along Georgia Avenue when students are walking to and from school.
The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) has increased community policing in the Petworth neighborhood in the last month and half, according to Police Chief Robert Contee who said, patrolling is not the only solution to the problem.
"The best way to keep our community safe, are to make sure that we are keeping bad violent people incarcerated," said Contee.
Violence intervention activists have been calling on changes from the D.C. government after several shootings have injured innocent bystanders.
A double shooting in Northwest D.C. on March 1 left a 29-year-old man dead and an innocent woman injured. According to MPD, at least two people "brazenly" fired weapons in the middle of the street, killing a man, and striking a bystander in the leg in the area of 14th and V Streets, Northwest.
The day prior, a woman was shot outside the Good Hope Marketplace in Southeast D.C. Investigators say she also was not the target of the shooters.
According to the police incident report, the victim was sitting in her car in the parking lot located in the 2800 of Alabama Avenue, Southeast when she heard the gunshots. It was later determined she had been shot multiple times in the back.
The D.C. Council is also considering bills that would help keep school resource officers and increase the number of MPD officers by offering those eligible for retirement a bonus to work an additional five years.