The City Council of the District of Columbia recently approved an urgent action in response to a notable surge in crime within the nation’s capital. The measure entails raising penalties for specific offenses and granting judges the authority to keep suspects in custody until their trial.
Under this emergency measure, the penalties for public firearm discharges, strangulation, and carjacking have been increased. The bill received substantial support from the city council, with a decisive vote of 12-1 on Tuesday.
According to Councilwoman Brooke Pinto (D), the situation in the city is deemed as a critical state of emergency.
Statistics from the Metropolitan Police Department reveal a significant increase in crime rates in Washington D.C. compared to the previous year.
Law enforcement reports indicate that homicides, robberies, and cases of sexual abuse have all risen by more than 10% in comparison to last year’s figures. Certain crimes, such as motor vehicle theft and arson, have experienced an increase of over 100%. Property-related offenses have surged by 29%, while overall crime has risen by 30%.
The D.C. Council is gearing up to pass an emergency public safety bill in the wake of rising crime in the city. The move comes months after Capitol Hill lawmakers worked to overhaul various crime bills from the district.https://t.co/BX1TnUs5Yo— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) July 12, 2023
Prior to the vote, D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson (D) made a remark stating, “You can get away with murder in this city,” which ironically contradicts his previous statement in March when he mentioned that there was no crime crisis in Washington D.C.
The actions implemented in Washington D.C. are not isolated incidents. Following the passage of a significant bail reform bill during the tenure of former Governor Andrew Cuomo (D), New York has been making revisions to the legislation. Many Republicans attribute the bail reform law as one of the contributing factors to a surge in crime across the state.
One of the reforms includes granting judges greater power to detain suspects before their trial, which aligns with the recent step taken in D.C. Governor Kathy Hochul (D), the current governor of New York, described the latest modifications to the law as “common sense.”
This effort was prompted by a 2023 Siena poll, which revealed that nearly two-thirds of New Yorkers supported granting judges such authority. Furthermore, over 90% of respondents considered crime to be a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” issue in the Empire State.