An ANC commissioner is calling on D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to implement a new crime plan following the deadly shooting of an American University student in Shaw on Saturday.
“Matt Shlonsky was 23 years old, a 2014 graduate of American University and an employee at Deloitte,” wrote Bengel on the deadly shooting in Shaw. “He was walking near the Shaw Metro station yesterday, minding his own business, when he was randomly killed, a victim of a drive by shooting in what has become a lawless Shaw community.”
Bengel continues: “As an elected city official I call on the mayor to immediately implement a true plan, with specific actions, to take back our communities from the violent crime we’ve seen recently.”
Below are Bengel’s 10 strategies for crime prevention in the District:
1. Use the bully pulpit of the mayor’s position to discuss with communities the importance of coming forward with information that could lead to the closure of open cases of violent crime. We must overcome the culture of a hero being labeled a snitch.
2. Increase the reward from $25,000 to $100,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for homicides. Year to date the city has seen 93 homicides and more than half remain unsolved.
3. Re-introduce district-based plain clothes vice units. The Third District vice unit was responsible for 1,400 arrests and 100 gun seizures alone in 2014. Crime suppression teams, fully uniformed and in marked, and very visible, police cruisers, are unable to be as effective as the vice units were.
4. Increase enforcement of public housing and Section 8 rules. With 70,000 residents on the waiting list for housing assistance, we cannot tolerate any public housing or Section 8 residents who harbor criminals or break rules – or allow their guests to. When a public housing or Section 8 resident is convicted of a felony that news needs to be shared amongst agencies and result in an eviction per the public housing rules.
5. Set up zero tolerance policing zones where arrests will occur, without warning, to anyone committing any crime – including quality of life crimes such as drinking in public, prostitution, public urination, marijuana use, illegal gambling and the like.
6. Unrestricted police overtime. The police department needs as many officers on the street as possible to get us through the summer.
7. Curfew enforcement. The law says juveniles under the age of 17 shall be inside by midnight in the summer and that law needs to be strictly enforced.
8. The city needs to greatly increase the use of high definition surveillance and recording cameras and give grants to businesses willing to install exterior cameras and share the live feed with the police department.
9. The same people are getting arrested over and over again and it becomes a “badge of honor”, as one officer told me. We need to look closely at how many arrests are not prosecuted and what comes of those cases that are. The reality is a tiny portion of people commit the violent crime and we need to get them locked up for a long time.
10. All District agencies must work together to combat crime and the agency directors need to be held accountable. It should not have taken three months after a homicide across from Kennedy Rec Center in Shaw for DPR & DGS to get a contract for cameras executed.
Bengel also called for more ANC commissioners to speak out about violence in the District.
“I call on my fellow Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners to keep up the pressure,” he wrote. “Don’t be afraid to speak out. Don’t let this issue slip when crime drops with the temperature. Demand that our leaders in the executive branch come up with long term solutions to what is an always anticipated rise in crime in the summer.”
Photo via Flickr/MPD