Bowie State criminal justice expert on what’s needed to address increase in gun violence

D.C. is seeing an increase in homicides, even as it continues to fund programs that it hopes will deter crime.

Compared to the same time period last year, homicides are up in the District by 11%, according to the latest numbers reported by D.C. police. So, how soon will those programs works?



“If I institute something by Monday, would I see results by Friday?” asked Charles Adams, chair of the Department of Criminal Justice at Bowie State University. “What I see is a, ‘We don’t quite understand what’s happening, but we have to do something.'”

Adams is urging residents to have patience.

“With any program or any intervention, we don’t know when it’s going to take effect,” Adams said.

“This spike in violent crime, of gun violence, we saw the uptick beginning around 2015,” he said. “It was at that point that many municipalities … we should’ve been at the table discussing the possible wave.”

In the short and long term, Adams said leaders should focus on a comprehensive approach.

“We need to look at the school system; we need to look at the economy, address the issues around parenting,” he said.

In 2017, D.C. recovered three ghost guns; but in 2021, that number rose to more than 400, Adams said.

“The availability of ghost guns have proven to be problematic,” but he said over policing is not the solution.

“It’s not that simple. It’s not … let’s just flood the street with police officers because we have so many things that’s taking place now, that we don’t have a clear grasp on it,” he said. “It’s a community issue, it’s a societal issue.”

Anna-Lysa Gayle

Anna-Lysa Gayle is an award-winning reporter and anchor, with five Emmy awards and more. Before joining WTOP, she spent nearly a decade as a TV news reporter for ABC and CBS news affiliates.

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