Violent crime in D.C. is increasing. No matter what the rate of violent crime is today compared with past years, the incidents of violent crime are still too high for any District resident to tolerate.
But who cares about the rate of crime, statistically speaking? What matters is the day in and day out news that another young person was shot, an infant child was assaulted, battered or murdered, a senior citizen was stabbed to death, or a law enforcement officer was killed.
Couple this with the mass shootings taking place in schools across the country, mostly by young white males with legally obtained weapons, and the shock of it all is even more overwhelming.
This violent crime issue is delivering an emotional blow in communities where it happens most often. And it is creating frustration for the most engaged community activists who are feeling helpless for lack of any viable solutions.
Ward 8 Council member Trayon White held a press conference in the pouring rain last week in response to the recent shooting of 15-year-old Jaylyn Wheeler, a Ballou Senior High School student murdered in an alley near the high school. White appealed to the community, but particularly Black men, to become more engaged with young people and to help provide safe passages so students can travel to and from school.
Former Peaceaholic co-founder and youth advocate Ron Moten posted an emotionally charged message on social media criticizing the community and the local government for spending a significant amount of taxpayer dollars on a dog park but not on resources to address the growing crime rate in the streets of D.C.. Asked by The Washington Informer if it was time for a return of the effective anti-gun program he led, Moten, soon to be 50, said possibly, but the emphasis would be on training the next crop of peacemakers the science of addressing violence among young people.
There are solutions to ending this rampant violent crime rate and those who have a proven track record need viable funding options. No child should want to die or be the cause of someone else’s death. It is a national crisis that must be immediately addressed. D.C. has the resources to lead the way.