D.C. police have increased patrols amid an uptick in shootings across the city, and Mayor Muriel Bowser has granted overtime to 115 officers with the aim to reduce violent crime.
The recent shootings include a man killed and five injured in Columbia Heights last month, a girl shot in the foot, and a 19-year-old killed while riding a moped.
“I want to be clear: We intend to use whatever additional resources that are needed to get the shootings under control,” said D.C. police Chief Peter Newsham at a news conference Tuesday.
With the mayor standing by his side, Newsham detailed three shootings in recent weeks and two assaults. In the most high-profile homicide of those he listed, police are still looking for the two suspects who they said are responsible for opening fire on a group of people on Columbia Road.
“The shooting in Columbia Heights Village, in particular — the mayor and I were up on there on a walk not long after the shooting. People were rattled by that shooting,” he said. “When you have a high-powered weapon fired off in a community like that, everybody hears it.”
“We have a responsibility as a police department to make people feel safe,” Newsham added.
He said he is convinced someone knows the pair in the silver sedan, spotted turning into the alley and opening fire on the group with a high-powered rifle and a handgun, killing 21-year-old Vincent Carter.
“Public safety must be a Districtwide priority, and it starts with building and keeping trust between our police and the communities they serve,” Bowser later said in a statement. “But we also know that in order to address some of our immediate public safety needs, we need other solutions.”
That’s why the new measures are being taken, in addition to the city’s violence prevention programs, Bowser said.
Newsham announced that detectives in the narcotics and special investigations unit, as well as patrol officers from the third, fifth and sixth districts, are now working more overtime. It increases the investigators’ capacity by 30% to have them work overtime to quell the violence, he said.
“The idea behind the patrol is to target them in the areas where we’ve had the violence. There’s two things that the patrol officers can do: They can engage with the community and potentially get leads on the shootings relative to the shootings that have occurred. In addition to that, the increased visibility will make folks feel safer,” Newsham said.