This page examines policy proposals to deter and mitigate local crime, along with potential financial and social costs associated with these policies. It also considers the various timelines, enforcement mechanisms, and limitations of these plans.

Secure DC Plan

In September 2023, DC Councilmember Brooke Pinto (D-Ward 2) published a set of seven proposals to tackle rising crime, titled "Secure DC Plan." The bill is currently under consideration.

There has been some pushback. As the Washington Post reports, "In a letter sent to Pinto just hours after she released the legislation, chief judges on the D.C. Superior Court and Court of Appeals warned that the measure allowing police to conduct warrantless searches without probable cause — at any time, anywhere in public — could be illegal."

Prioritizing Public Safety Emergency Amendment Act

In July 2023, the DC Council passed emergency public safety legislation that had been proposed by Pinto. "Prioritizing Public Safety Emergency Amendment Act" "expands access to private security cameras through an incentive program and allows pretrial GPS monitoring data to be used as evidence against defendants, among several other provisions. It also creates new crimes, including endangerment with a firearm and a strangulation offense. Such charges had previously been included in the Revised Criminal Code Act that Congress blocked from going into effect." In short, it established "a new crime for firing a gun in public" and made it "easier for judges to detail people charged with violent offenses before trial".

The bill passed 12-1, with the sole objection from Councilmember Janeese Lewis George (D-Ward 4), who opposed the provision on pretrial detention. Lewis George highlighted low levels of recidivism for those charged and released until trial.

As emergency legislation, this bill bypasses the committee process and expires in 90 days.

Alternative-Justice Measures

Youth Curfew

Prince George's country established a curfew for youth 16-years-old and under. There are proponents and skeptics of this program. [WaPo]

Violence Interrupters

The DMV has invested in violence interrupters who defuse tension among gangs. They typically come from the region in question. There is significant training involved to become an interrupter. [WaPo]

People of Promise

DC developed a "People of Promise" initiative aimed at preventing violence among persons of interest. [WaPo] A top city official graded the program as a C+. The program was "a diplomatic way of referring to a list of those considered most at risk of committing violence — or becoming a victim of violence themselves. The initiative, a key pillar of D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser’s effort to combat crime as homicides continue at a pace that could reach a two-decade high, was designed to bring intense government services to those on the list, assigning a cabinet-level official to supervise each person’s case." [WaPo]

Pathways & New Beginnings, & Other Counter-Crime Programs

DC developed a "transitional employment program called Pathways that targets 20- to 35-year-olds susceptible to gun violence." [WaPo]

News Beginnings is a youth detention center that provides opportunities for rehabilitation, therapy, and job opportunities.

In April 2022, DC circulated its "Roadmap to Reducing Violent Crime in the District" program. [WaPo]

Program Management Issues

Bowser's "public safety team has struggled to explain how its roster of programs fits together and keeps residents safe...Over the last two fiscal years, the city spent $139 million on efforts outside of policing to combat gun violence. It is unclear what subset of that funding went directly into People of Promise, since the program is meant to streamline an array of services from multiple agencies, rather than offer new ones." [WaPo]

Potential CityLab Sponsors

As we shift from the CityLab "Catalyst" to the "Practicum" phase, I need to find a sponsor for my project focused on crime. The following are some potential sponsors: