At White House, Bowser seeks help in curbing gun violence

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and other urban leaders met with President Joe Biden at the White House on Monday to discuss efforts to prevent gun violence.

The mayor advocated for more assistance, she said in a statement Monday, and singled out other opportunities in which the federal government can better support public safety, such as authorizing the mayor to deploy the D.C. National Guard.

The meeting came amid an overall drop in violent crime in D.C., yet an increase in gun violence. Per the District, 2% of all city blocks account for 41% of all of gunshot-related crimes.

So, the District is employing what it calls a “whole-of-government approach,” which comprises police-based strategies — such as a gun-recovery unit and the department’s summer crime initiative — as well as hospital-based and community-based intervention.

Federal funding would be part of that. Under Bowser’s proposed budget, the District would invest over $214 million in federal and local money to gun-violence prevention and related services over the next four years.

Of this, for example …

  • $13.8 million would be spent on youth safety initiatives.
  • $5.6 million would create over 100 Department of Public Works jobs for at-risk people.
  • $7 million would help D.C.’s departments of Behavioral Health, Transportation and Public Works respond to nonemergency 911 calls “for mental health distress, minor traffic crashes and parking complaints.”
  • $9 million would be used for capital investments in priority neighborhoods.
  • Nearly $2 million would be spent on expanded recreation opportunities.

“It is encouraging to have a president and attorney general committed to working with local leaders to maximize federal resources deployed in cities to address not only law enforcement strategies, but also community violence prevention strategies,” Bowser said Monday.

Jack Pointer

Jack Pointer contributes to WTOP.com when he's not working as the afternoon/evening radio writer. In a previous life, he helped edit The Dallas Morning News and Chicago Tribune.

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