A visible and trusted police force keeps all of us safe.
When D.C. residents feel unsafe in their homes and neighborhoods, even a positive trend in crime statistics — such as the drop in homicides — doesn't change that. To maximize the effectiveness of our hard-working officers, we must (1) use data to drive deployment, (2) promote visibility of officers with foot or bike patrols in crime hot spots, and (3) ask commanders to maintain communication with residents. When crimes do occur, the focus should remain on solving cases quickly to deter repeat offenses, so victims can feel closure and a sense of justice.
I support Chief Lanier's efforts. From my days as a reporter covering the murders that get two-sentence mentions in the newspaper, I know she works hard for all city residents. D.C. has the highest ratio of police officers to residents of any big city in America, but not enough are serving visibly on our streets where they can deter robberies and assaults. It is politically popular to call for more officers; as a budget analyst and former Washington Post Metro reporter, I know the real solution is to use our current force more strategically.
As a council member, I will drill down into the MPD budget and ask hard questions about deployment. Do we have the right balance between patrol and investigation? I will work with Chief Lanier and the Fraternal Order of Police to put as many sworn officers as possible on patrol. I will push for regular reports that analyze police staffing, and, if the results point to hiring more cops, that will be one of my top priorities. Public safety is too important to hide behind buzz words.
I also will push for strategic focus on truancy, literacy, and job training so crime isn't a last resort.