DC police chief wants community’s help to prevent further rise in killings

When the weather gets hot, crime traditionally spikes. And with restrictions lifting as well, D.C.’s police chief is concerned about a more violent summer.

Facing an increase in homicides, currently up 23% over this time last year, Chief Robert Contee stressed the importance of the community’s relationship with the police in working together to solve crimes.

“I share those concerns with many of my colleagues … even before the restrictions were lifted, we’ve seen increases in crime. I think that we have to continue to work very closely with our communities. We have to continue to build those relationships,” Contee said during a news conference Wednesday.

He wants the community to take any act of violence on its streets as “unacceptable,” and work with investigators to bring those responsible to justice.

“And not just incarcerate them or bring them to justice in that way, but to see those cases through and ensure that we hold people accountable for what they do in our communities that make communities unsafe for my family, that make them unsafe for your family, and for people who might be visiting the District of Columbia,” Contee said.

He specifically asked for tips in the May 19 killing of Ella-Mae Neal, 65, near 18th and Q streets in Southeast.

“A 65-year-old grandmother unnecessarily, unnecessarily lost her life because somebody decided that it was a good idea to come with a gun and shoot up a block. Again, a message to that person: ‘The chief of the Metropolitan Police Department needs to have a conversation with you.’ If there’s a person that’s out there who committed this act, and you know of it, don’t be complicit in that person’s crime,” Contee said.

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Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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