Another weekend of deadly shootings leaves DC officials calling for action

A D.C. Council member said the city could be doing more to curb crime after another deadly weekend of shootings.

Ward 1 Council member Brianne Nadeau said multiple shootings on Saturday — including incidents on U Street and Adams Morgan — highlight ongoing public safety issues the District faces. According to Nadeau, she’s already planning to discuss safety issues in depth at upcoming meetings in the days and weeks ahead.

“There’s too much violence in our community right now, and it’s really scary for residents — and it’s not OK,” she told WTOP. “It’s not OK to bring your guns to the District of Columbia and use them against people.”

Nadeau said all D.C. entities have a commitment to end this recent crime wave and are working together to achieve that goal. But she admitted that there needs to be more synergy between departments.

“It needs to be about how all of our different entities are working together to resolve crime issues, not just MPD,” Nadeau said.

“It’s got to be a partnership between all of our agencies, like the Department of Public Works, helping with towing … DDOT, helping with strategic road closures, our licensing agencies going out and doing enforcement, making sure all of our nightlife entities are following the law,” she said.

The D.C. Council passed new legislation in July that would help address the crime spike in the District, including making it easier for judges to hold people in jail pending trial when the court finds that they have likely committed a violent crime. Supporters hope it will be effective after it has had some time to kick in, Nadeau said.

The council is also actively trying to raise more awareness about D.C.’s Red Flag law, which allows people to report to authorities when they suspect an individual is planning to use a firearm against another person or themselves.

But Nadeau said legislation alone is not enough if they want to make a substantial impact.

“There is a lot the mayor can do right now, without any new laws, as the head of the executive branch,” she said.

Nadeau said a few things could be done immediately to fight crime, including seeing criminal evidence being processed more quickly.

“She (Mayor Muriel Bowser) can get our crime lab stirred up again,” Nadeau said. “That’s a really big deal because, right now, not all of the evidence that’s gathered in crimes in the District of Columbia is being processed timely, or at all.”

Nadeau plans to advocate for a more equitable distribution of police officers throughout the city, noting that more officers need to be present in areas where crime repeatedly occurs.

“That’s something the new chief needs to work on, and she has assured me she will,” she said. “Also, we will be asking the U.S. attorney to be prosecuting more crimes in the District of Columbia.”

She added a push for more criminals to be prosecuted in D.C. could help with the rising crime rates.

“Swift, certain justice is what deters crime,” Nadeau said. “And right now, we can’t be assured that’s happening in the District of Columbia between the crime lab being down, and the U.S. attorney declining to prosecute two thirds of cases in the District of Columbia.”

Nadeau confirmed with WTOP that she has a phone call update scheduled with the Adams Morgan community for Monday night. She also has several regular meetings scheduled for this week where she plans to talk to constituents about any issues they face.

Nadeau believes safety will be top of mind for more residents.

“I extend my condolences to the families of these victims in these shootings,” she said. “I certainly want community members to know that we are all working really hard to end this violence.”

Matt Kaufax

If there's an off-the-beaten-path type of attraction, person, or phenomenon in the DC area that you think more people should know about, Matt is your guy. As the features reporter for WTOP, he's always on the hunt for stories that provide a unique local flavor—a slice of life if you will.

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