Washington D.C Grapples With Juvenile Delinquency

Washington D.C. is under a new wave of crime that is worrying local law enforcement agencies. Resultantly, these crimes are forcing local residents to migrate out of the city.

Washington D.C Seeing Crime From Juvenile Offenders

According to the chair of D.C. Police Union, Gregg Pemberton, even kids are stealing cars at gunpoint these days in the capital.

The same cars are then used in various other crimes in nearby neighborhoods, which is triggering unprecedented violence, the police chair added.

Though liberal administrators, primarily Mayor Muriel Bowser, are blaming “easy access to weapons” for these rising crimes in the city.

Last year, D.C reported 226 homicides, which was the highest number in the previous 20 years, according to the Metropolitan Police Department of the capital.

This year, 59 such incidents have been reported so far.

Similarly, the frequency of assaults in which deadly weapons were used remained the same this year, compared to last year, while robberies are 54% higher this time than in 2021.

By the end of May 2021, 521 robberies were reported last year in D.C.; that number has reached 803 this time.

The lingering impacts of the pandemic are also one of the potential reasons for increasing numbers of crime in D.C. Pemberton also suggested “politics” is making matters worse in the capital.

He noted juveniles “don’t care” about these crimes. They claim they are aware of “no penalty” laws against them, which can help them evade the criminal justice system.

The chair mentioned the restorative justice model of D.C. district attorney Karl Racine.

This allows juvenile offenders to be included in a rehabilitation program, giving them access to victims and letting them indulge in therapy, instead of being prosecuted.

Thus, Pemberton called it a “laissez-faire” attitude of the government, which allows juveniles to commit more crimes.

Washington D.C Needs More Police Officers Immediately

Pemberton also argued fewer police officers in D.C. is making law enforcement difficult.

He indicated politicians started reforming the laws hastily after the murder of George Floyd, which forced at least 700 officers to leave their jobs.

Pemberton stated almost 3,500 police officers are serving in D.C at the moment, while the current need of the city demands at least 4,000 officers.

In D.C., two post-Floyd laws triggered the mess in the state. These laws were introduced by the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee Chairman Charles Allen, along with the city council chairman, Phil Mendelson.

He took aim at Mendelson’s bill specifically, which sought to publicize the personal record of police officers, making them vulnerable to public backlash.

These sorts of measures give authority to the general public to investigate police officers about any issue, the chief added.

The impact of the ongoing crimes in D.C is evident as the population of the city fell by 3% in 2021. As per the data from the U.S. Census Bureau, over 20,000 residents left the state last year.