DC Council committee holding public hearing for 3 public safety bills

DC Council committee holding public hearing for 3 public safety bills

D.C. Council Seeks Public Feedback on Three Public Safety Bills Amid Soaring Crime Rates

As crime rates continue to surge, the D.C. Council’s Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety is set to gather public feedback on three public safety bills. The bills under discussion are as follows:

  1. Improving Safety and Emergency Response on Transit Corridors Act of 2023: This bill proposes a two-year demonstration program to install emergency communication and video surveillance systems at public transit stations across the city, aiming to enhance safety and emergency response.
  2. Safe Commercial Corridors Amendment Act of 2023: The second bill empowers the Deputy Mayor of Public Safety and Justice to provide grants to business districts. These grants would support the implementation of public safety solutions, with a focus on enhancing security in commercial corridors.
  3. Whole Government Response to Crime Act of 2023: This comprehensive bill outlines multiple measures, including the collection and publication of firearm tracing data by the mayor. It mandates the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement to study the effectiveness of violence reduction programs, establishes a Victim Services Coordinator, and forms a 911 System Improvement Task Force to assess the effectiveness of the Office of Unified Communications 911 system, among other provisions.

Public Concerns and Calls for Urgent Action

Amid these legislative discussions, community members and leaders express growing concerns about rising crime rates. Paul Trantham, ANC Commissioner of 8B02, emphasized the need for more aggressive measures to address gun violence promptly. Trantham shared the urgency expressed by residents who have tragically lost loved ones to gun violence and stressed the immediate action required to curb the proliferation of firearms on the streets.

Recent Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) data obtained by 7News indicates a significant increase in total crime, up 29%, and a spike of 40% in violent crime compared to the same period last year.

Real-Time Crime Center Launch and Immediate Response Measures

The public hearing occurs in the wake of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s announcement of the launch of a Real-Time Crime Center, scheduled for February. The center aims to facilitate collaboration between MPD and various law enforcement agencies, enabling real-time monitoring and analysis of data from sources such as CCTV cameras and emergency calls to respond swiftly to criminal activities.

While acknowledging the forthcoming Real-Time Crime Center, community leaders like Trantham stress the immediate need for short-term public safety measures to address the pressing concerns of residents and families affected by gun violence. The city seeks a comprehensive approach to both short-term and long-term strategies to ensure the safety and well-being of its residents.