By Nyame-kye Kondo
Special to the AFRO
As the end of the year looms closer, Washington, D.C. continues to experience high homicide rates. The year 2019 has been statistically high with deaths as a result of violence, most of them involving guns.
With the majority of D.C’s violence taking place primarily in Wards 7, and 8- both areas being predominantly Black- communities and law enforcement continue to try and solve the issue.
About 10 more murders have already been tallied since the start of this year compared to this time in 2018.
Washington D.C. still experiencing a resurgence of crime at the close of 2019. (Courtesy Photo)
The current homicide rate in D.C is 175 and last year’s wt this time it was 165, according to D.C. Witness.
Once considered the “murder capital” of America because of its high crime rate during the drug epidemic of the 80’s and 90’s, the early 2000’s represented an era with lowered crime rates, and extreme development for the Washington, D.C. area. Communities were adamant about revitalizing their neighborhoods through crime prevention.
However, the region was not able to fully shake the violence behind the former unofficial title, and now the tragic disturbances are heavily concentrated in the predominantly Black communities East of the river, and many of the casualties have been innocent children and young adults.
Such shootings, as in the cases of 15-year-old Maurice Scott and 11-year-old Karon White, are putting many Black communities on edge. The steadily rising crime rate is also forcing people to become socially active within their communities, and prioritizing the rehabilitation of their neighborhoods.
Movements like the D.C. Attorney General’s “Cure the Streets” and “Long Live Go-Go,” which has held rallies and peaceful protests to raise awareness and discuss prevention, have been an important step towards establishing peace.
There are many variables that go into determining the proper categorization of homicides in the city. While the illegal use of firearms is definitely becoming a problem in the District, the process to determine the uptick is not as simple. A reliable police source who spoke on the condition of anonymity said, “It depends on the perspective.”
“Washington, D.C. is definitely experiencing an unfortunate amount of homicides that are afflicting the city, but the way in which they happen are not all attributed to firearm violence, nor is time not relative,” the police officer said.
Even Mayor Muriel Bowser has had to weigh in on the topic and come up with new strategies to address the problem. On Oct. 11, Bowser launched her inaugural Fall crime prevention plan titled, “Safer, Stronger D.C. Fall Crime Prevention Initiative (FCPI).”
The initiative is, “a coordinated effort to reduce violent crime in specific areas in the District through strategic prevention and coordinated enforcement,” according to a press release.
“We know that when we focus our policing and resources in our hardest hit areas, we can make our neighborhoods safer,” said Bowser. “The Fall Crime Prevention Initiative will engage the community, particularly our young people and their families, to reduce violent crime and save lives.”
A yearly initiative that lasts from October to December, Bowser and her team use it as a catalyst to keep homicide prevention at the forefront.
“This is not a police problem, it’s not a community problem,” Police Chief Peter Newsham said at a press conference in 2018. “It’s everyone’s problem.”