There have been five fatal shootings just this week around D.C., and District officials are using a familiar tactic to prevent more.
The fall crime prevention initiative — announced during a news conference Friday afternoon on the Howard University campus — aims for the successes achieved during the District’s summer crime prevention initiatives. This year’s, for instance, saw a 26% reduction in overall crime and 22% reduction in violent crime, said police Chief Peter Newsham.
“We know that when we focus our policing and resources in our hardest hit areas, we can make our neighborhoods safer,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser in a statement. “The Fall Crime Prevention Initiative will engage the community, particularly our young people and their families, to reduce violent crime and save lives.”
The 60-day initiative comprises more officers, data analysis, outreach and a focus on repeat offenders in various hot spots around D.C.: Southwest, the U Street corridor, Columbia Heights, Shaw, Saratoga, Greenway, Washington Highlands and Congress Heights.
“We have some communities right now that are on edge because of some shootings that have occurred in their communities. We feel obligated and responsible to do something, and we are going to do the very best we can to go out there and stop this shooting from occurring in our communities,” Newsham said at Friday’s event.
The chief cited this week’s fatal shootings in emphasizing the need for special measures.
- A 24-year-old Southeast D.C. man, Kevin Better, was fatally shot Tuesday evening in the 5200 block of Sheriff Road Northeast.
- Thomas Johnson, 15, of Southeast D.C. was shot to death near Nationals Park Wednesday afternoon. Security camera footage caught an image of the person being sought in that case.
- Devon Miler, 24, of Southeast D.C., and Lekelefac Fonge, 27, of Lanham, Maryland, were fatally shot in a home in the 1600 block of Rosedale Street Northeast on Wednesday night. Police are seeking Davon Peyton, of Alexandria, Virginia, in that case.
- A 36-year-old city employee, Marcus Williams, of Southeast, was fatally shot Thursday afternoon on his lunch break in the 1200 block of I Street Southeast.
“Nobody deserves to die from gun violence in our city, and we must collectively re-evaluate our approach to addressing the proliferation of shootings that we’re seeing here in the District of Columbia,” Newsham said.
WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this report.