House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) and Committee Republicans renewed their request for District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser to provide her plan to address rampant violent crime in the nation’s capital city. In the letter, the Republican lawmakers blast Democrat-led budget cuts to the Metropolitan Police Department’s budget (MPD) that have resulted in fewer resources to conduct sufficient policing in the wake of historic crime.
“As the committee of jurisdiction for all matters involving D.C., we reiterate our request for information about how you plan to address the rampant violent crime in the nation’s capital city. Police unions, parents, and neighborhood associations are raising the red flag as crime continues to increase,” wrote the Republican lawmakers. “Democrat-led efforts to defund or ‘reimagine’ the police are contributing to the rise in crime and public distrust, but the District Council’s DC Police Reform Commission has advocated Democrats’ anti-law enforcement agenda.”
As the District is facing a crime crisis, the MPD is short hundreds of police officers. In November 2021, the District reached 200 homicides in one year for the first time in nearly 20 years. According to the DC Police Union, since last year alone robbery has increased nearly 50 percent, burglary has increased by nearly 40 percent, and violent crime has increased by over 20 percent. A recently released Washington Post poll found 30 percent of District residents felt unsafe in their neighborhoods, the highest level in more than two decades. Residents ranked crime as the biggest problem facing the District that they wanted their Mayor to solve and said more police presence would reduce crime.
“These troubling statistics raise questions about whether your office is committed to maintaining an adequate police force. The District’s FY 2022 budget cut the MPD budget by nearly 6 percent. MPD Police Chief Robert Contee has expressed his concerns that these budget cuts will lead to a ‘net loss of more than 200 sworn members’ and will cause the District to have the smallest police force in two decades by the end of FY 2022. A recent audit revealed the District’s 911 dispatch fell behind national standards for response times to callers,” continued the Republican lawmakers. “Despite continued calls from the DC Police Union for more support from the District, MPD lacks the resources to conduct sufficient policing. In fact, your new FY 2023 budget recognizes that past MPD budget cuts have hurt the MPD’s ability to protect our capital’s citizens by allocating funding for 500 additional sworn officers. We again request that you provide the Committee staff a briefing to explain your plans to address the alarming rates of crime and the lack of sufficient MPD support in the District of Columbia.”