WASHINGTON - The surge of violence in Washington, D.C. continued over the weekend as three people were shot just days after the police department's leader announced major changes to the District's crime strategy.
On Sunday afternoon, officers responded to the D.C.'s Shaw neighborhood where gunfire erupted stirking several people near Q and 1st Streets. Police say two of those people died. No suspects have been identified at this time.
Police Chief Robert Contee released an internal video to officers Friday night announcing changes to the patrol strategy as a result of a shrinking force. He says there will be no more fixed posts, instead "intelligence-led" patrols. A source who sent the video to FOX 5 says this is a huge change to day-to-day patrol.
"Specifically, with our shrinking workforce, we cannot afford to dedicate officers to individual blocks or corners," Chief Contee said.
The department has lost more than 200 officers since last year and they will be down another 120 by Sept 2022. This will bring the number of officers down to 3,460 by the September date.
On Monday, FOX 5 spoke with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser about the surge in violent incidents.
"We want every D.C. resident to feel safe in their home. Every business and visitor to feel safe," Bowser told FOX 5’s Maureen Umeh. "I am concerned about the shrinking numbers and it’s been a hallmark -- certainly of my tenure -- to get the number of police officers up. We’ve been focused on a retirement bubble for many years and we were finally bending the curve in that bubble."
Bowser said last year her budget wasn’t approved to hire the number of officers needed.
"Last week I notified the council that we would use whatever overtime dollars that we needed to make sure we have officers out on the street and present in neighborhoods. There is a limit to that, however. We want our officers to be fresh and make good decisions so the chief has to make decisions about how to best deploy them and use that overtime."
Bowser said her new budget is being considered by the Council and says she is proposing hires for 100 new officers and police cadets.
Several high profile shooting have put D.C.'s crime problems in the national spotlight in recent weeks.
Earlier this month a 6-year-old girl was shot and killed near Malcom X Boulevard and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in the Southeast.
The same weekend, chaos unfolded outside of Nationals Park following an eruption of gunfire.
Both of those cases are still under investigation.