Thank you to every community member who joined the Ward 4 Summer Safety Strategic Meeting on Wednesday. I’m grateful we had the Office of the DC Attorney General, MPD’s Fourth District, the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement, the InnerCity Collaborative, the Department of Behavioral Health, and the Office of Victims Services and Justice Grants all present as representatives of a multifaceted, interagency approach to addressing crime and gun violence in our community. Agencies laid out specific actions they are taking to step up their efforts in Ward 4 over the summer and fielded questions and requests from neighbors on specific issues ranging from mental health resources in our schools, specific patrol areas, crime suppression, violence interruption, and more.
- MPD Fourth District: Touched on their crime suppression unit, increased focus on Georgia Avenue and transit corridors, more community patrols, reliance on camera footage to close cases, and increasing communication with community.
- DC Attorney General: Discussed their work addressing nuisance properties in Ward 4 such as the Starlight Plaza on Kennedy Street, their approach on juvenile offenses, restorative justice initiatives, lawsuits against gun manufacturers, and the promising Cure the Streets site coming to Ward 4.
- InnerCity Collaborative: As the nonprofit overseeing the new Cure the Streets violence interruption team in Petworth and Brightwood Park, they have secured a space in Ward 4, started hiring, and have started responding to incidents. They will be fully operational in 2-3 weeks and help address retaliatory conflicts driving gun violence.
- Office of Neighborhood Safety: Laid out efforts in Ward 4, including their existing violence interruption team with Collaborative Solutions, the Pathways transitional employment program with dedicated slots for Ward 4 residents, and their Leadership Academy initiative based at Paul PCS to engage at-risk youth and their families.
- Department of Behavioral Health: Shared information about their 24-hour community response teams for emotional, psychiatric or substance abuse issues, their 24-hour Access Helpline for mental health issues, and their willingness to attend community events and hold neighborhood pop-ups to share resources.
- Office of Victim Services: Highlighted the private security camera rebate program to cover the cost for residents, businesses, and nonprofits to install security cameras on their properties, the DC Victim Hotline to help victims of crime navigate resources, and the Crime Victims Compensation Fund run by DC Superior Court.
Regardless of what may be happening elsewhere, here in Ward 4 we are all working collaboratively to address the urgent need to make our communities safe. That is what it’s going to take to break away from the devastating trends we’re seeing with gun violence surging citywide and nationwide. Our agencies recognize that our community is hurting and feel accountable to each do their part to build peace in both the short-term and long-term. Their strategies will be shaped by what they heard from neighbors on Wednesday and ongoing input from our community.
You can watch a full recording of the meeting, as well as the slides from my presentation.
You can also check out news coverage of the event on DCist and DC News Now.