The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) has established a new unit that will patrol the streets on bikes and scooters to fight the rising crime around the city.
DC Police Chief Robert Contee made the announcement in a press conference, saying the patrol unit will be focused on violent crime.
“I have not been to one community in our nation’s capital that has said ‘hey Chief don’t send me any police officers over here, we don’t want to see them in this community,'” said Contee. “That has not been my experience in times where our manpower has decreased by almost 215 officers since October 2020. MPD must more effectively use the more limited resources that we have.”
Members of the new unit will first be deployed in Bloomingdale, Columbia Heights, Parkwood, and the Washington Highlands neighborhood, according to Contee.
The target areas have been determined based on the Department’s crime analysis.
Last Friday, a six-year-old girl named Nyiah Courtney was shot dead in Southeast DC. Five adults, including the child’s mother, were also shot, and hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. Another shooting took place the next day outside the Nationals Park during a Washington Nationals game against the San Diego Padres. Three people were wounded.
In the wake of the two shocking incidents, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser directed MPD to “use any overtime necessary to meet our public safety needs.”
DC Attorney General Karl Racine also reacted to the shootings, releasing a statement, in which he said:
“Gun violence and violent crime are impacting the entire District, and residents deserve a thoughtful and long-term response. A six-year-old girl, Nyiah Courtney, was shot and killed last Friday. Tens of thousands of fans at Nationals Park dove for cover thinking they were in the middle of an active shooter situation last Saturday. These are appalling and gut-wrenching events… No one wants to fear for their child’s life as they go to school or walk down the street. But in parts of the District – that is a daily reality… Our city needs a comprehensive plan. It needs a clear, consistent, and all-hands-on-deck approach. Some of these steps include action my office is already taking, and some are bigger than my office alone. But we must work together to make meaningful progress.”
For Racine’s full statement, click here.