DC police shift 25 percent more officers to troubled areas in Southeast after weekend violence spike

- DC saw a spike in deadly violence over Memorial Day weekend, with 11 shootings and four homicides in just under 24 hours.

Mayor Bowser and Police Chief Peter Newsham spoke on Tuesday addressing the influx of violent crimes. They announced that police department will shift 25 percent of its force to some of the troubled areas in Wards 5, 7 and 8.

Chief Newsham says these positions are not new hires, but officers reallocated from other departments. 

In a statement released Monday the mayor said:

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those we have lost to violence. We ask residents to partner with us by reporting any criminal activity and send a clear message: violence will not be tolerated."

Bowser, who is running for re-election, has been touting the decrease in violent crime numbers in her campaign.

During the mayor's first year in office in 2015, there was already a 54 percent homicide increase. And while those numbers did go back down, homicides are again a huge concern for residents in Ward 8 three years later.

Police have named now named suspects in four homicides, including the fatal shooting of 15-year-old Jaylyn Wheeler at Ballou High School in Southeast on May 16.

DC Police Chief Peter Newsham says overall crime has been going down in the city, and when spikes like this occur, police and communities have little tolerance for it.

"You can look at the crime statistics that we post on a daily basis and you can see that violent crime is down in our city," Newsham said. "In fact, you can go back to 2009 and you can see significant declines, including a 22-percent decline in violent crime last year. Homicides are not down and that is often times what the media will focus on." 

The police chief added, "I think it is important that we do focus on the homicides, but if truth be told and we want to be honest about violent crime across the city, there is a decline at this point in the city. So I am not going to try to dismiss the fact that we have an increase in homicides because that is significant."

In her address on Tuesday, Mayor Bowser said she wants illegal guns removed from city streets and more community partnerships.

"This year's violence has taken its toll on many young people, older residents, commercial area business owners and all of us who care about our city. Today we are here to tell you that as a government we will do all that we can, using all of the resources of our government. Every agency. To help communities and assist families."

She also says she wants to provide more access to jobs and mental health services.

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