High crime in Capitol Hill adds burden to Capitol Police: DC Police Union

Is crime around Capitol Hill putting security at the U.S. Capitol at risk? 

The leader of D.C.’s police union told Congress on Thursday that neighborhood crime is not only putting lawmakers, staffers and residents at risk – but it’s adding to the workload of U.S. Capitol Police who already have their hands full. 

Capitol Hill is two things – it’s a seat of government where people work and visit. But it’s also a neighborhood that, like every other neighborhood in D.C., has seen crime spike.

Staffers and members of congress have been victims of recent crimes in D.C. Senator Rand Paul’s staffer was attacked on H Street in D.C. in August, and Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn. was attacked in the lobby of her apartment building last February. 

The House Administration committee held a hearing with U.S. Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger and D.C. police union chair Gregg Pemberton Thursday. Lawmakers are concerned carjackings, robberies, thefts and muggings are so bad around Capitol Hill that Capitol Police are being forced to respond to local crimes, distracting from their primary mission of protecting the capitol itself.

"We look at our crime-fighting responsibilities as integral to our mission, and like so many areas of our mission, it’s just increased," said Manger. 

 Residents in the area say more D.C. cops would help with the increase in local crime in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. 

"Give them some overtime, maybe we will feel a little bit safer I guess," said one resident. 

Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen was invited to the hearing on Thursday but did not attend. His representative confirmed he declined the invitation, saying it was Manger who "is best positioned to discuss the important work of keeping members of congress safe."