The horrible news about the 2008 murder rate in D.C. brings to mind some questions for Mayor Fenty and the D.C. Council:
- When does public safety become a priority for you?
- Have you noticed that a lot of kids (in addition to other victims) are getting killed?
- When will you figure out that good schools (and you are to be commended for your focus on the D.C. public schools) don’t mean much if the kids have to go through metal detectors to enter them?
- How much are better schools worth if kids are afraid to walk to them?
- Do you believe D.C.’s continued high crime rate–compared to other large cities–is a factor in the less than stellar performance of our convention center?
- If the violent crime rate keeps going up, do you think that living downtown will continue to be fashionable and desirable? What happens if an exodus of residents and businesses to the suburbs starts again? What happens when suburbanites are afraid to come to the trendy new business and retail strips in Logan Circle, Shaw, U Street and Columbia Heights? Where will you get the money to pay for schools and other programs?
- Finally, let’s say that you do decide to make crime/public safety a priority: Will you offer something more than simply blaming the Metropolitan Police Department? Will it occur to you to look at the laws and rules on the books to make sure the police are able to do their jobs?
Just asking, folks. Good schools are vital–but they are not the answer to everything that ails Washington.
If you are interested in what Washingtonians think about the crime rate for 2009 in our city, you can take a look at this poll (it’s very unscientific, I admit). The results are not encouraging.