WASHINGTON - D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and new Police Chief Peter Newsham led a community walk on Monday in a section of Southeast D.C. that has seen its share of crime. The mayor listened to residents' concerns and promised to get help into the community.
Mayor Bowser has made it a habit during her first term as mayor to get out in the community and get its pulse and temperature. As she walked up 22nd Street, she heard complaints from residents about all sorts of issues, including crime and trash.
According to D.C. police's crime mapping website, there have been 217 reported crimes in the immediate neighborhood the mayor was walking through in 2016, which is down significantly from the year before. Along with the mayor on the walk were representatives from many of her agencies who were ready to listen to the complaints and help where they could. The mayor made it a point to visit some of the small businesses that operate in the high crime neighborhood.
"Crime is down all across the city and we have several PSAs, police service districts, that we are very focused on for the summer," said Bowser. "In part of what we are doing, I am talking about our summer strategy in Ward 8 and other high crime areas. But part of what we talked about today, people need more services. So I'm going to bring our substance abuse and health van to come to this corridor as well as employment services van so that we can have throughout the summer more concentrated services."
"This year, we have identified six areas - five of those areas are all in Ward 7 and Ward 8 - so we don't only do this by ourselves with the police, but all of the D.C. government agencies are involved in this and it has been extremely successful," said Chief Newsham.
As many city residents know, ATV and dirt bike riders are a big problem in the city and the police will not chase them due to policy. We asked Chief Newsham about the issue.
"This thing is something just about every community the mayor and I go to - that the community is just not going to tolerate this," he said. "We urge the community that if you know somebody who is operating one of these ATVs out on our city streets, let us know because we are going to enforce this thing very seriously this year. Again, I will reemphasize the message to the people who are involved in this behavior that it is immature. It really is. These are grown men and they are out here terrorizing commuters, they are terrorizing our seniors, they are terrorizing our kids and nobody wants it."