Statement on Improving Public Safety in our Community
We can make our neighborhoods safer with a strategy that promotes an adequately resourced police department, comprehensive wraparound services, and community-centered professional policing.
The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) should be adequately resourced to prevent and respond to crime effectively. While recent budgets included funds to increase MPD personnel, recruitment and retention of officers remain a struggle. I am reviewing existing incentive structures and exploring innovative ways to recruit qualified officers who reflect the communities they serve and the racial, economic, and gender diversity of our city. Training efforts should prioritize building meaningful connections between officers and communities that increase accountability and strengthen the department’s ability to work with residents and local leaders to prevent crime. In tandem with personnel investments, I support data-driven responses to crime that enable MPD to be nimble in allocating resources to address increases in violent and property crimes where they occur. Expanded use of proven tools like Crime Suppression Teams, which respond to incidents with additional police presence, allow MPD to address safety concerns. I expect the mayor’s proposed budget will emphasize these priorities.
Public safety cannot just be about policing, though. We must also expand accessible, comprehensive services that keep families and communities whole. Just last week, I attended two community meetings — one in Anacostia and one in Cleveland Park — where community members all but begged for mental health services as an important element in the effort to break cycles of violence. That is why in my FY24 budget priorities, I proposed more than $56 million in new investments in behavioral and mental health services for youth and adults, licensing and training for social workers, housing for domestic violence survivors, and expanded Out of School Time Programs for students. Programs and services like these help communities heal and break cycles of trauma and violence.
Response to Public Safety Incidents
My priority is to prevent crime before it happens, but when there are incidents we must respond quickly and appropriately. I routinely partner with MPD’s 2nd District, which serves Ward 3, to track serious crime and respond to safety issues in our community, and to send a clear signal of support for their work. Here’s how we work together:
1. In the immediate aftermath of a public safety incident, the 2nd District Commander briefs me on the incident, its resolution, and any ongoing impacts on the community.
2. In the days afterwards, my office follows up with MPD to obtain more information and discuss whether additional police resources or legislative solutions could have prevented the crime or strengthened our response.
3. MPD works to allocate additional resources to the neighborhood where the incident occurred, especially if it is a hotspot for public safety issues. When possible, the 2nd District’s Crime Suppression Team will respond with an increased presence in the area.
In addition to responding to specific public safety incidents, I frequently participate in neighborhood crime walks, meet with constituents to discuss their concerns, and engage with MPD officers and leadership. In the coming weeks, I plan to meet with MPD Chief Robert Contee III to learn more about MPD’s citywide efforts and discuss innovative approaches for a comprehensive, whole-of-government response to public safety.
Public Safety Resources
MPD Crime Cards
MPD Crime Cards is a data-focused dashboard that helps residents stay informed about public safety in their community. MPD Crime Cards show public safety trends at granular levels, broken down by violent and property crimes and by geographic area. The dashboard can also assist residents in contacting MPD officials in their neighborhood or learning about specific recent incidents
To access the MPD Crime Cards dashboard, click here.
MPD-2D Listserv and Alerts DC
Information sharing is a crucial component of our public safety response. When residents are informed, they can effectively keep their neighborhoods safe. The MPD-2D community listserv provides regular reports on crime and arrests in the police district, as well as enables residents to ask for additional information about specific incidents.
AlertDC shares timely emergency alerts from public safety officials via text or email. You can choose what notifications to receive about traffic, public safety, utilities, and school closings.
MPD 2nd District Citizens Advisory Council (MPD-2D CAC)
Citizens Advisory Councils are advisory panels that give residents an opportunity to engage with MPD about their community’s public safety and policing needs. The CAC has open membership and provides residents with briefings from MPD-2D and the US Attorney’s office and opportunities to engage directly with law enforcement leadership. The meetings are held virtually on the first Tuesday of each month at 7:00 PM.
Free Steering Wheel Locks
MPD is offering free steering wheel locks to residents who own a 2011-2021 Kia or Hyundai on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last. These cars are especially susceptible to theft, so the steering wheel locks are an important tool to protect your vehicle. Residents can pick up their locks at the MPD 2nd District station, 3320 Idaho Avenue, NW, with appropriate documentation. For more information, click here.
Steering wheel locks are an effective way to prevent vehicle theft. I recently co-introduced Councilmember Bonds’ “Wheel-Lock Help Incentive Program Act,” which would establish an incentive program to encourage the purchase and installation of steering wheel locks on residents’ personal vehicles.
Security Camera Rebate
The Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants administers the Private Security Camera Rebate Program, which provides residents and businesses incentives to purchase and install security cameras on their property and register them with MPD. The rebate covers the actual cost of an individual camera, up to $200, with a maximum rebate of $500 for residential properties. Click here to learn more.