House Republicans Probe D.C. Mayor Bowser After Rise in Crime

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser gives remarks during the “March On for Washington and Voting Rights” on the National Mall on August 28, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Republicans on the House Oversight Committee sent a letter to the Democrat Mayor of Washington, DC, Muriel Bowser, asking to provide a briefing regarding the status of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) funding after the rise in crime.

The letter, led by Rep. James Comer (R-KY), ranking member of the committee, and other Republicans on the committee, cited the “dangerous” rising trend in crime happening within the Democrat-controlled city and mentioned Tarshaqua Chappell, the 37-year-old who was shot and killed while she was driving in the city last month.

The group wrote:

Over the past several months, the city has deteriorated to a point reminiscent of the 1990s. As violent crime and homelessness have increased at an unchecked rate throughout the city, your administration seems to have given up trying to prevent the District from falling into a state of chaos. The message coming from your office regarding the future role of, and funding for, the city’s police is contributing to the decline.

“Violent crime plagues the city, and the number of homicides this year is expected to meet or exceed the 16-year high of 2020,” the group continued.

The group also mentioned “the emergence of vast homeless communities—where drug use and violence often go unchecked.” While tourists see the tent cities across the District and requests to remove the encampments have been denied, the “number of chronically homeless in the District has risen over 20 percent from last year.”

The group of lawmakers added:

[T]he District is compounding the crime and homelessness issues with mixed messages coming from the D.C. government and the groups influencing it. In July, the D.C. Council announced it would hold a roundtable on gun violence. But Black Lives Matter D.C. accused the Council of using “the community’s righteous anger” to “gain momentum for an arbitrary number of new police and a bigger budget.” You expressed a desire to decrease funding for the police only a few weeks ago, and your budget allows the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to hire only 170 new officers instead of the normal 280 to keep up with attrition. This has led to “the smallest police force [the District] has had in more than two decades.”

“In order to better understand the dire conditions of the District of Columbia, please provide a briefing to Committee staff regarding the status of the funding of the MPD no later than October 8, 2021,” the letter said.

People walk down 16th street after “Defund The Police” was painted on the street near the White House on June 08, 2020 in Washington, DC. After days of protests in DC over the death of George Floyd, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser renamed that section of 16th street "Black Lives Matter Plaza". (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

People walk down 16th street after “Defund The Police” was painted on the street near the White House on June 08, 2020 in Washington, DC. After days of protests in DC over the death of George Floyd, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser renamed that section of 16th street “Black Lives Matter Plaza”. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

According to the MPD’s 2021 Year-to-Date Crime Comparison statistics, the overall crime rate has gone up since last year. Homicide, assault with a dangerous weapon, robbery, motor vehicle theft, and theft from auto are all up from last year by at least one percent and some as high as 11 percent.

Follow Jacob Bliss on Twitter @jacobmbliss.

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