Secure DC Crime Bill passed by DC Council

The Secure D.C. Omnibus Amendment Act of 2024 has been passed by the D.C. Council and is now headed to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser's desk.

The Secure D.C. Omnibus Amendment Act of 2024 includes more than 100 proposals to help fight crime in our nation’s capital. 2023 ended with the highest number of homicides D.C. has seen in more than 25 years and carjackings nearly doubled.

The bill includes a list of proposals – such as – increasing gun violence penalties, adding punishment for organized retail theft, expanding the definition of carjacking, and giving police the authority to collect DNA samples before suspects are convicted. 

"Passing and implementing Secure DC is a critical step in the work to build a safer DC by rebalancing our public safety and justice ecosystem in favor of safety and accountability," said Bowser in a statement Tuesday. "Today, I am grateful for all the people who made their voices heard and demanded action. I am grateful for the leadership of Councilmember Pinto and all the councilmembers who listened to the concerns of our community and voted in support of common-sense legislation that recognizes the importance of accountability in our ecosystem. We are a city that is committed to creating opportunity and that believes in second chances, but we will not tolerate violence and we will not tolerate criminal activity that disrupts our sense of safety and our ability to build thriving neighborhoods. The provisions that were passed on an emergency basis last summer have already had a positive impact on crime trends. Together, we can continue to drive down crime and build a safer, stronger DC."

READ MORE: DC agencies ‘not performing as they should’ to reduce crime, ODCA says

The bill passed after the D.C. Council made an amendment, proposed by Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau, that would "launch a comprehensive study to evaluate the effectiveness of the District's existing witness assistance programs and make policy recommendations." 

"Giving testimony in a murder case comes with significant risks and costs – a reason that so many people decline to testify, and why we need to support witnesses who come forward," Nadeau said. "Information provided by witnesses is highly valuable to law enforcement as they work to solve homicide cases, and we need to close more homicide cases."

The U.S. Attorney’s Office requested additions to the study laid out in the bill – which will include "an overview of current programs and operations in D.C., an evaluation of witness relocation success rates for safety and security, an assessment of service overlaps or gaps, the establishment of recommended performance metrics for improved coordination between local and federal agencies, a review of national best practices, and policy recommendations for funding and program enhancements."

Full statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office: 

"The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia applauds the Council’s passage of the Secure DC legislative package. The provisions in this bill will provide crucial tools to police and to prosecutors as we collectively work together to hold those who commit crimes in our community accountable. And we are particularly grateful that the Council listened to our arguments related to DNA collection and developed a compromise position that allows for the earlier collection of DNA.  This provision will both help solve violent crimes and prevent future crimes by removing these dangerous people from our community."