Washington Police Advise Lawmakers to Avoid Wearing Jewelry, Keep Phone Calls Brief Amid Rising Crime in Capital

Motor vehicle theft has risen 108 percent in Washington D.C., with homicides up by 29 percent.
Washington Police Advise Lawmakers to Avoid Wearing Jewelry, Keep Phone Calls Brief Amid Rising Crime in Capital
Metropolitan Police officers ride their bikes as former President Donald Trump’s motorcade arrives at E. Barrett Prettyman federal courthouse in Washington on Aug. 3, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)
Naveen Athrappully

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.

“There’s no indication that crime is being reduced in our nation’s capital, so people are working to make sure that they’re protected,” Mr. Steil said in an interview with The Washington Times. “It’s incredibly disturbing that people have to even be thinking about some of these things.”

“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.”

According to data from the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia (MPD), there is a 38 percent rise in violent crime rate as of Sept. 18 compared to the same period last year.

Robbery has spiked 67 percent, homicide 29 percent, motor vehicle theft 108 percent, theft 22 percent, and property crime 26 percent.

On July 25, the Mexican consulate in Washington D.C. warned its community that the capital region is experiencing “a significant increase in crime in areas previously considered safe,” according to an X post.

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.

“These are real men and women who work on Capitol Hill, who visit Capitol Hill, who are directly impacted by the rising crime that we’ve seen.”

Democrat’s Soft Crime Policies

The 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.
On March 8, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved a House-passed bill seeking to overturn the RCC. Speaking on the Senate floor, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blamed the issue of rising crime on the left’s anti-police rhetoric.

“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.

In his interview, Mr. Steil pointed out that “crime is so bad in the nation’s capital that even liberal President Joe Biden signed that nullification.”
“It shows you how disconnected the policymakers of the city of Washington, D.C., are from the reality on the ground.”

Carjackings on the Rise

Carjacking 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.

According to MPD data, there have been 5,141 motor vehicle thefts as of Sept. 18 and 5,580 “theft from auto.” In an interview with Just the News, Mr. Steil said that “it's so concerning … to think in a city of just over 500,000 people that 5,000 cars have been stolen already this year.”

“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.”