Mayor Laments Crime in DC at House Oversight Hearing: ‘No One Can Be Satisfied’

Mayor Laments Crime in DC at House Oversight Hearing: ‘No One Can Be Satisfied’
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser attends the March for Our Lives 2022 in Washington on June 11, 2022. (Paul Morigi/Getty Images for March For Our Lives)
Jackson Richman

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, lamented the state of crime in the nation’s capital amid House Republican oversight.

Bowser testified before the House Oversight Committee on May 16 that the status quo in crime in the District of Columbia is unacceptable.

“No one can be satisfied with increasing crime trends in any category,” she said. “I certainly am not.”

In the nation’s capital, according to the Metropolitan Police Department, violent crime is up 13 percent in 2023 compared to the previous year. There has been an 11 percent increase in homicides, a 45 percent rise in sex abuses, a 2 percent increase in assaults with a dangerous weapon, and a 19 percent jump in robberies.

According to the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), burglaries have decreased 10 percent in Washington this year compared to 2022, but there has been a 30 percent overall increase in property crimes. Motor vehicle thefts have gone up by a staggering 114 percent. There has been a 6 percent rise in thefts from automobiles, a 24 percent jump in other thefts, and a 300 percent increase in arsons.

“We see more illegal guns on our streets and more repeat violent offenders using them,” said Bowser. “Those guns are being used in violent crimes like homicides and carjackings.

“For me, these trends are unacceptable, and we do not accept this as our new normal,” she added.

Bowser noted that she announced a legislative package on May 15 “that will enhance penalties for violent crime and modify recently enacted early release legislation to ensure the voices of victims and the judgment of the courts are not thrown by the wayside.”

Matthew Graves, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, testified alongside Bowser in front of the House Oversight Committee.

D.C. City Administrator Kevin Donahue and outgoing MPD Police Chief Robert Contee joined Bowser to help her answer questions.

Graves’ office has come under fire recently as it has, according to the Substack blog DC Crime Facts, refused to prosecute 67 percent of those arrested by MPD, or 52 percent of felony apprehensions, and 72 percent of misdemeanor apprehensions.
Graves told The Washington Post that his office has been prosecuting most cases involving violent felonies.
The Senate is scheduled on May 16 to vote on a disapproval resolution to block the District of Columbia’s Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Amendment Act of 2022. The House passed the disapproval resolution on April 19. The White House has said that President Joe Biden would veto the resolution if it came to his desk.
The D.C. legislation—which the city council passed in December 2022—would prohibit the Metropolitan Police Department and other local law enforcement personnel from using “neck restraints or any other technique that causes asphyxiation, presents an unnecessary danger to the public, and constitutes excessive force.”

The measure also approves the use of police body camera footage and requires, with a couple of exceptions, the mayor to release such footage with the names of the officers behind the footage where “officers [were] directly involved in the officer-involved death or serious use of force.”

Biden signed a GOP resolution on March 20 overturning a Washington crime bill.

The GOP-controlled House and Democrat-controlled Senate both passed the resolution on a bipartisan basis, and Biden said that he would sign the bill, pitting himself against progressives and his own belief that the District of Columbia should be a state. The conundrum also put Biden on the spot amid GOP criticisms of his fellow Democrats being soft on crime. Bowser vetoed the bill—only for the city council to override her veto. The resolution was the first time in decades that Congress voted to override a D.C. bill.
“I support D.C. Statehood and home-rule—but I don’t support some of the changes D.C. Council put forward over the Mayor’s objections—such as lowering penalties for carjackings. If the Senate votes to overturn what D.C. Council did–I’ll sign it,” posted Biden on Twitter on March 2. This was a reversal from the administration saying that Biden would veto the resolution.
Jackson Richman is a Washington correspondent for The Epoch Times. In addition to Washington politics, he covers the intersection of politics and sports/sports and culture. He previously was a writer at Mediaite and Washington correspondent at Jewish News Syndicate. His writing has also appeared in The Washington Examiner. He is an alum of George Washington University.
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