WASHINGTON, DC (October 5, 2023) – In response to the crisis of violence District residents are experiencing, today Councilmember Robert White introduced the Whole Government Response to Crime Act of 2023. This crime response bill is the first in a series of public safety bills Councilmember White plans to put forward in the coming months. Subsequent bills will address crime prevention, and community recovery from violence.
Councilmember White said, “The Whole Government Response to Crime Act of 2023 fixes gaps in the District’s public safety approach with swift response, certain punishment, and tracking where firearms are flowing into the District. People want a public safety approach that works and works without causing unnecessary harm. Residents deserve an urgent response to crime and violence. This bill responds directly to a siloed and disjointed public safety system that is leaving residents unsafe. It addresses the failures in the District’s public safety system at every step – from the initial 911 call to prosecutions and holding people accountable.”
The Whole Government Crime Response to Crime Act of 2023
Improves our government’s response to crime by:
- Quickly improving 911 operations and response with recommendations from a 911 system improvement taskforce that will provide system and leadership recommendations within 90 days.
- Expanding staffing and talent at the Department of Forensic Sciences’ (DFS) Crime Scene Division, which is short-staffed and delayed in processing evidence. The bill would create recruitment and retention incentives, which are important because swift and certain punishment decreases violent crime, and we cannot achieve prosecutions to hold people accountable for violence without the evidence DFS is responsible for.
- Tracking where the firearms flowing into DC are coming from in order to stem this deadly tide.
- Creating a full-time Victim Services Coordinator to connect residents with resources like legal aid, help with medical bills, mental health support, or assistance with funeral costs so they know where to turn for help in the aftermath of a violent event.
Tackles the sharp rise in juvenile crime by providing opportunity and accountability for youth by:
- Creating a Director of Emerging Adults to oversee the many different programs that help meet the unique needs of young adults aged 18-24. This role will coordinate the District’s programs geared towards young adults and develop a plan to ensure those committing violence are being held accountable and provided the services they need for rehabilitation, so they avoid dangerous behavior later.
Develops solutions to the violence in nightlife corridors across the District through a Hospitality Working Group to keep both customers and neighbors in every community safe.
Requires District agencies to collect data on the effectiveness of our violence reduction efforts so we can find out what is working and have a data-driven approach to public safety.
Councilmember White said, “This bill responds to what we’ve heard in meetings with residents and community leaders, community visits, conversations with the Metropolitan Police Department and other District agencies, the Office of the Attorney General, and academic experts in the field. Everyone rightly cares most about how we stop the shootings, the carjackings, the window smashing. I don’t have a magic wand that will stop all violence tomorrow—no one does—but my crime response bill will get us there by fixing what’s broken in our public safety system today.”