WASHINGTON - The steady rise in violence in the nation's capital over the last four months has a local leader asking if we are in the midst of a crime crisis.
FOX 5's Melanie Alnwick says over the last three days, three homicides have claimed lives in D.C..
Statistics show violent crime is up nine percent from this time last year with homicides showing a 20 percent increase. In addition, from January 1 to April 20, 38 juveniles have been struck by gunfire. In the last month, 14 homicides, 117 assaults with a dangerous weapon, and 254 robberies were reported.
Ward 8 ANC Commissioner Erica Green calls it a crisis. "It's an epidemic, and it's an illness, and it's a tragedy, and it's an emergency," Green said. "One death, two deaths, one shooting, two shootings, five – they're all tragedies, they're all emergencies."
"I'm asking the community, please, do what you can do," Greene said. "Whether it's just walking outside for five minutes and inviting somebody to your faith-based place of worship. Let's be a family, let's be a community, please."
Erica says a broken culture of poverty and inequality is contributing to the problem.
D.C. police have started their focused patrol and community engagement strategy that puts more officers in high incidence areas.
The strategy also has officers doing more foot patrols and assisting with quality of life issues, not just crime.