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Mayor Bowser announces new anti-crime legislation

The mayor's administration says the "Safer, Stronger DC" legislation is a "whole-of-government crime reduction effort."

WASHINGTON — D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and members of her administration announced new legislation and a mayor's order in an effort to reduce crime in the District. The new "Safer, Stronger DC" legislation comes a week after Bowser held a public safety summit to address rising crime rates.

During the summit, local and federal public safety officials and partners discussed what was working, what was not working and what needed to change in order to improve public safety in D.C. The mayor's office said the new legislation will address those identified gaps in the District's public safety ecosystem. 

 "This is about making sure we have the tools we need to build a safer, stronger DC and protect the overwhelming majority of people in our city who are doing the right thing and who just want to be able to enjoy our beautiful city and our fantastic neighborhoods," Bowser said in a press statement.

READ: The full executive order from the Mayor's office below

According to the mayor's office, the new legislation will:

  • Enhance penalties for violent crimes that victimize or target vulnerable residents with physical or mental impairments as well as expanded protections for transit and for-hire vehicle employees, transit passengers, and people at rec centers.
  • Increase penalties for illegal gun possession.
  • Make strangulation a type of felony assault (strangulation is a key indicator that domestic violence will become deadly).
  • Strengthen provisions that allow individuals to petition for early release to ensure the voices of victims and community receive proper consideration.
  • Provide greater discretion for the Courts to determine who should be held pre-trial, including defendants previously convicted of a violent crime while they await trial for a new violent crime.
  • Increase the reimbursement for the District's popular Private Security Camera System  Incentive Program which strengthens public safety by increasing the network of cameras available to assist MPD in solving crimes and closing cases. 
  • Require the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council to report more data on process and outcomes.

"While we work to create a policy environment in our city that supports safety, the entire public safety and justice ecosystem must be healthy, well-resourced and collaborative for enforcement to be successful," said Acting Deputy Mayor Lindsey Appiah.

Bowser also issued a Mayor's Order directing deputy mayors to submit recommendations for a whole-of-government approach to crime reduction. The deputy mayors' recommendations for violence prevention, intervention, and reduction are to be submitted to the City Administrator within 45 days.

DC Police continue to address rising crime rates in the area. The mayor and Police Chief Robert Contee III announced a new Focused Patrol and Community Engagement Strategy, which is meant to utilize data to identify specific areas in each police district and employs focused patrols for proactive policing, community engagement, and problem solving within a small geographical area identified through data analysis.

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