DC Council members push for info on what’s being done to prevent gun violence

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 25: Councilmember Charles Allen, Chair of the City Council Committee on the Judiciary & Public Safety holds a hearing to address recent homocides, on September, 25, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)(The Washington Post via Getty Im/The Washington Post)

D.C. Council members held a hearing Thursday on gun violence prevention.

Many questions surrounded the District’s current programs and if they’re working given recent area shootings.

“What makes someone a shooter and how do our programs right now prevent that from happening,” said D.C. council member Charles Allen, who represents Ward 6.

Allen questioned the success of programs in place during the virtual hearing and public roundtable titled The District’s Response to Gun Violence with council member Anita Bonds, an at-large member.

“It is at a crisis point,” Bonds said. “The current situation of course is unacceptable.”

The event came a day after Mayor Muriel Bowser addressed gun violence and the rise in the number of homicides in the District.

Some of the programs council members asked about are Building Blocks D.C., The Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement and The Metropolitan Police Department Summer Crime Prevention Initiative.

“It takes every branch of government to create safe streets and neighborhoods for District residents across all eight Wards,” said Chris Geldart, deputy mayor for public safety and justice.

As of July 23, there have been 108 homicides in the District — 90 of which involved a firearm, according to documents from the hearing.

During that same period of time, 973 robberies (501 of which involved a gun), 866 assaults with a dangerous weapon (473 of which involved a gun), and 92 sexual assaults (5 of which involved a gun) have been reported, according to hearing documents.

“I promise you, MPD will not rest while we still have people brazenly shooting in our communities,” said D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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