DC taking new steps in tackling violent crime spike

WASHINGTON -- Many D.C. residents are wondering what is causing the spike in homicides across the city.

Leaders say the overall crime rate is flat, but murders are up.

On Thursday, Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier called the media together to announce arrests and to inform the public on how the city is fighting back.

Violent crime in the city has been the lead story in many days over the last few weeks.

From a triple shooting in the Shaw neighborhood this week to two brutal assaults we have reported recently -- a man beaten near Ben's Chili Bowl and another man slashed across the face while on his way home.

"We are doing everything that we can to prevent violent crime in every part of the city," said Bowser.

She called the media to the Wilson Building to announce several homicide arrests as she pointed out posters of murder suspects still on the loose.

Chief Lanier said many people being investigated for homicides now are no strangers to the law.

"So far this year, ten of the people involved in homicides have had prior homicide charges," said Lanier.

Leaders are pushing for new lighting and security cameras where crime is an issue. They have also called for a study to determine if prosecutors and judges are doing their part to punish offenders.

"We want to make sure that they are being held," Bowser said. "We want to make sure that the charges match the crime."

"I will tell you that I get a lot of calls from people in the community who are frustrated when a person is arrested and then back in the community," said the police chief.

Lanier said weapons with high-capacity ammunition are also a problem here in D.C. and in other large cities. She also believes other's state gun laws could be a factor.

Bowser also said her team is considering new legislation to present to the city council to help reduce crime, but did not want to release any details.

One thing she did say is that she wants to make sure the prosecution of violent crime committed on public transit is robust.