This week, in neighborhoods across DC, we celebrated National Night Out, an annual event where the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and Washingtonians come together to promote public safety. In Washington, DC, we understand that in order to continue building a safer, stronger city, we must continue fostering strong relationships between our community and MPD.
Over the past two and a half years, my Administration has remained focused on making it easier for residents to work with MPD and building a police force that represents and reflects our community. To do this, we have created incentives to draw more Washingtonians into careers in law enforcement and put in place programs that give residents the resources they need to support our police officers. In 2016, we launched the Public Safety Academy at Anacostia High School to help DCPS students pursue careers in public safety. Earlier this year, MPD transitioned over to a sector policing model, a proactive community policing technique that improves accountability and ensures that younger officers can be mentored by more experienced colleagues. In March, we announced an investment that will allow us to double the number of young people enrolled in the MPD Police Cadet Training Program. Earlier this summer, we expanded our Private Security Camera Incentive Program, which has already funded nearly 6,000 private security cameras, making it easier for residents in all eight wards to keep their homes and neighborhoods safe by installing a camera system on their property. And, recently, I worked with the Council to create and pass a budget that includes $2.9 million for student loan forgiveness and housing programs that will help us recruit and retain a high-quality police force.
By working together as a community and by taking a holistic approach to crime and violence, we are building a safer city. Compared to this time last year, the District has seen a 32 percent decrease in robberies, a 23 percent decrease in assaults with a dangerous weapon, an eight percent decrease in homicides, and a 26 percent decrease in burglaries. Overall, violent crime in Washington, DC is down 26 percent. There is more work to do, but these numbers show real progress.
Thank you to all who celebrated National Night Out and to every Washingtonian who is committed to building a safer, stronger DC.