DC leaders hope to reduce youth crime through new initiatives

Youth violence remains a critical issue for Washington, D.C. According to the Metropolitan Police Department, 13 juveniles have been killed in the District this year with the most recent happening in the early morning hours Sunday. 

Police say 17-year-old Naima Liggon was stabbed to death by a 16-year-old girl while at a Northwest D.C. McDonald’s just after 2 a.m. 

She was one of many young victims to suffer a violent crime, which Metropolitan Police data shows is up 38% this year. 

Juvenile crime was a focal point of a briefing Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. public safety officials gave a few weeks ago, announcing bolstered juvenile curfew enforcement for some neighborhoods — including the U Street corridor — which will go into effect on Sept. 1. 

FOX 5 asked Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Lindsey Appiah about this renewed effort.

"We are always looking for ways to make sure our young people are safe and our city is safe," Appiah said. "And certainly this summer we’ve seen some instances of young people out where they shouldn’t be."

Leola Smith lives near the U Street corridor and operates an Airbnb. She’s one of many who feel that their communities are being overwhelmed by violence. 

"D.C. is under siege and we need help. We really do. And it’s not just in this neighborhood. It’s all over D.C.," Smith said. 


Mayor Bowser responds to DC councilmember's calls to use National Guard to help combat crime

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who was out last week, held her first public appearance on Monday since Ward 8 councilmember Trayon White called on the mayor to possibly request the National Guard as a serious means to address the city’s rising violence.

Smith says her business is being hampered by negative reviews about the neighborhood and personally, her grandson was stabbed outside the home this summer.

"I can’t rent my Airbnb anymore. I’m losing income. My entire savings just went down the drain," Smith said.

City leaders are responding to calls for action, holding town halls, passing emergency crime prevention legislation, implementing the curfew and putting up more security cameras. 

Mayor Bowser and Police Chief Pamela Smith say the work is ongoing, as they’re committing to engaging with the community, illegal gun recovery, and closing cases, all things that happened this summer.

While Smith says she thinks leaders are listening, she still feels there’s a disconnect and much more than can and should be done, both in her neighborhood and in the city.

"They haven’t executed. It hasn’t been executed to its fullest," Smith said.