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D.C. crime prevention bill does more than just pay criminals

WASHINGTON — A D.C. crime prevention bill that got attention for promising to pay criminals to stay out of trouble has now passed the City Council.

Its sponsor says there’s a lot more to it.

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“Today we’re saying there’s a better way. It involves treating crime like a public health crisis,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Kenyan McDuffie said to his council colleagues.

Before the bill passed with three amendments, McDuffie discussed how the Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results Act is based on ideas that have worked elsewhere.

“We’re using evidence-based, data-driven solutions to try to prevent some of the more serious violence we’ve seen in a while,” he said.

McDuffie says the council crafted the bill in concert with the D.C. police, looking at mental health programs in Chicago and police-community relations in Richmond and California.

“We’re going to have a piece of the bill that embeds mental health commissioners with police officers on a pilot process, to make sure we’re approaching people with mental illness and having interactions much better than we’ve done in the past,” McDuffie said.

The bill also allows for the establishment of offices for neighborhood engagement and safety, as well as violence prevention.

“We’re going to do whatever we can to improve police-community relations, but also to reduce violence in the District of Columbia,” McDuffie said.

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