DC gun violence sparks meeting between Mayor, ANC commissioners

Continuing gun violence in D.C. sparked a two-hour meeting Saturday between Mayor Muriel Bowser, police Chief Robert Contee and advisory neighborhood commissioners from all eight wards of the city.

In a spot survey, the commissioners indicated that about one-third personally know of someone who has been a victim of violent crime. The commissioners said they are concerned, frustrated and anxious about public safety.

Bowser told her audience that “people are hearing gun shots more and more and more.”

Contee said that besides the “pop, pop, pop,” of gunfire, residents are now hearing the “brrrr” — of rapidly fired rounds from guns modified to replicate the action of automatic weapons.

The chief pointed out that besides the 203 homicides recorded in the city in 2022, there were 884 victims who suffered gunshot wounds.

Mayor Muriel Bowser held a meeting with ANC commissioners on the “state of crime” in Washington D.C. after a rampant uptick in gun violence. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)

Contee also said the department does not have enough officers and Mayor Bowser told ANC members if they want more officers, the time to get involved is during the budget process.

The police chief later told reporters that the department needs to hire about 600 more officers.

The city is spending $115 million in violence prevention programs. And the ANC commissioners were told that 100 staff members have been added in the past three months to the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation, which will allow an expansion of hours at some recreation centers.

ANC commissioners offered a variety of ideas for reducing gun violence. Commissioners called for better collaboration with city agencies, with one ANC commissioner complaining that it’s hard to reach some city agencies and phone calls are sometimes not returned.

Several commissioners asked for expanded programs and services for youth. One ANC commissioners recommended that Black Men of Faith go into the schools to talk to Black boys, another suggested that more early intervention programs are needed to redirect paths that may be headed toward crime.

There was a call to expand the District’s Safe Passage Program to improve the safety of children traveling to and from school. One ANC commissioner suggested the city needed a boxing program so that youth could take out their aggression in the ring. But Parks and Recreation Director Delano Hunt said the city already has one of the best public boxing programs in the country.

Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow WTOP on Twitter and Instagram to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2023 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up