Crime in Washington, D.C. has turned into a major issue that police recently held a special session for lawmakers on how to safeguard themselves.
An informal safety meeting was held in the U.S. Capitol’s Longworth Building on Monday where lawmakers and staffers were briefed on how to cope with D.C.’s rising crime rates. Attendees were advised by officers not to wear jewelry on public transportation and keep their phone calls brief while walking in order to minimize distractions.
Hosted by Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Administration Committee, the briefing involved representatives from Capitol Police and the union for the District’s Metropolitan Police.
“The fact that we are in a position in Washington, D.C., where that type of advice is needed to be given to visitors to Capitol Hill or to staff members on Capitol Hill is concerning.”
Robbery has spiked 67 percent, homicide 29 percent, motor vehicle theft 108 percent, theft 22 percent, and property crime 26 percent.
Lawmakers and government staffers have been victims of violent crimes this year. In February, Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minn.) was assaulted inside her apartment by a criminal with 12 prior convictions. In March, a staffer for Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was attacked several times by a person who was just released from prison.
At the briefing, multiple staffers revealed their accounts of getting mugged. “This isn’t some abstract, theoretical issue,” Mr. Steil said.
Democrat’s Soft Crime PoliciesThe rise in crime in Washington follows a Democrat push in the district to ease laws against criminals. The Revised Criminal Code Act (RCC), a law passed by the D.C. Council, lessened penalties for some violent crimes like carjacking and home burglaries. Though the law was vetoed by Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, the Council overruled the veto.
“This is what happens when Democrats at all levels decide we need fewer arrests, shorter sentences, and more generosity to criminals at the expense of less justice for victims and for families,” he said.
“We're the greatest superpower in history … This is our capital city. But local politicians have let its streets become a danger and an embarrassment.”
In March, President Biden signed the Senate-approved bill into law, thus overriding the RCC.
Carjackings on the RiseCarjacking has become a major issue in Washington. In a Sept. 18 post on X, the House Administration Committee GOP said that there have been 702 carjackings so far this year in Washington, with 20–25 cars being stolen every day on average in 2023.
During the U.S. Capitol briefing, police advised lawmakers and staffers that drivers should ideally leave some space between their car and the vehicle in front of them at stoplights. This would allow the person to speed off in case they see potential carjackers come.
“Seven hundred of those have been the result of carjackings, where people are viciously thrown out of their cars and thrown out into the streets as the criminals drive away.”
Mr. Steil pointed out that the crime wave in Washington is forcing the Capitol police to take action against street crimes rather than focusing on guarding the Capitol.
“[W]e're finding out that we're having to do a lot of the street crime work that the Metropolitan Police Department should do. Why? The direct result of the liberal policies of D.C.'s local city government,” he said.
“There's no sign that this crime is slowing down. If you want to know what happens in our nation's largest cities under complete Democratic control, look no further than your nation's capital, crime is spiking.”