DC councilmember introduces bill aimed at tackling district’s uptick in violent crime
A Washington, D.C., councilmember announced Monday a new proposal to address the rampant crime in the district, months after Congress stepped in to overturn a criminal code criticized for being soft on crime.
Councilmember Brooke Pinto introcuced the “Secure D.C. Plan” to address the proliferation of “crime and violence” in the nation’s capital.
Pinto wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the plan includes an expansive package of laws, initiatives and strategies to take “urgent and targeted action” to prevent and respond to the rise in crime.
In a bipartisan effort, President Biden and Congress moved to eliminate a crime bill in March after the D.C. Council attempted to soften the district’s criminal code. Critics of the rewrite, including Democrat Mayor Muriel Bowser, argued that the resolution would “embolden violent criminals.”
The plan introduced on Monday includes increasing accountability for violent crime and gun offenses, hiring and retaining more police officers, and improving infrastructure at schools and recreational facilities.
“We are experiencing a crisis of violence in the District, and we must address the gaps in our legal system in order to prevent the proliferation of violence in our communities,” Pinto said in a statement. “Too many of our residents are afraid. My comprehensive package of legislative initiatives is a compilation of common-sense, targeted interventions that will urgently and practically improve safety for DC residents.”
Pinto introduced the “Secure D.C. Plan” Monday morning ahead of a public hearing with the district’s Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety. The package expands on the emergency legislation she worked on with the mayor, which was passed in July and will expire after 90 days on Oct. 18.
“The Secure D.C. Plan that I am proposing today creatively and expansively addresses some of the most pressing challenges facing our communities,” Pinto said. “I hear from residents every day about the need for accountability when harm occurs and how desperately residents want to feel and be secure in their communities. I hear from government partners about the challenge to meet resident needs without adequate staffing. I hear from justice-involved individuals about the lack of access to job training and career development opportunities.”
The councilmember added, “My Secure D.C. Plan fills these gaps and addresses the need for interventions targeting all angles of public safety – from prevention, to accountability, to ending cycles of violence.”
Pinto worked with partners across the district, including the U.S. Attorney’s Office for D.C., to create the measure, which builds on the budget investments passed by the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety and the emergency legislation expiring next month.
“I am glad Councilmember Pinto introduced these bills today, and I support her plan to improve public safety in the District. These provisions will better enable our office to prosecute cases that are harming our communities and fill legal gaps that will make our residents safer,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves said in a statement.