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DC considers removing police from property crime investigations as crime rates continue to rise

Murder Rates Soar in D.C. as Police⁤ Struggle to Keep Up

With murders at the highest rate in years, the nation’s capital may soon not even send police officers to investigate property crimes, instead sending civilians with no badge or gun.

A ​majority of the Washington, D.C., city ‌council has signed on⁤ to a bill that would allow “civilian investigators” to handle crimes like theft because police are so overwhelmed with active violent crimes. The council’s chairman Phil Mendelson​ said in a letter that ‌his bill, ⁤the “Evidence-Based Gun Violence Reduction and Prevention Act of 2023,” is modeled after Baltimore and San Francisco, which he⁤ claims “have adopted successful ⁣initiatives like this.”

The bill, which has the support of seven of the council’s​ twelve members,​ says:

The ‌Metropolitan Police Department ‍is hereby⁣ authorized ⁢to employ and allow civilian personnel to investigate ‌the following types of incidents⁤ when there is no ‌expected suspect contact:

  1. Commercial burglary
  2. Residential burglary
  3. Motor vehicle theft
  4. Theft
  5. Forgery
  6. Fraud
  7. Other property crime investigations

Property‍ crimes threaten ⁢to derail D.C. as a viable business and commerce center. Property crime has risen 25% ‌ since ⁤last year. Theft other than cars is the most common crime in the‍ district, ‌and it has surged dramatically this year, from 905 cases in January to 1,400 in November.

This week, robbers stole a quarter-million dollars in merchandize from the Chanel store in City⁣ Center, ⁣a luxury shopping‌ area. The store is also near the sports‌ arena where the Washington Capitals and Washington‌ Wizards play. The sports teams’ ⁢owners last week announced their intent to move⁢ to Virginia ⁤amidst a sense of rampant crime around the stadium.

The move to civilian investigators is likely to bolster the already-present‌ sense that there⁤ will be ⁤no⁢ accountability for theft. Someone from ‍the police department may⁤ come and take⁣ down ‍a report,⁣ but⁤ that is often the last action they will take.

According to a Daily Wire review ⁢of police data, in 2022 there were 18,650 instances of theft (excluding the stealing of cars) and only 729 arrests of adults ​where⁢ theft was the top‌ charge, and 17 arrests of juveniles, excluding cases where the arrest was expunged. That would amount to less than a‍ 4%‌ clearance ⁣rate.

The⁤ legislation says civilian⁣ investigators would not have ⁣badges or ⁣guns and could not ‍make arrests.

“Investigators shall be issued a ⁢uniform that is substantially different in color and style from that of a sworn⁤ officer of the Metropolitan Police Department,” and ⁣“any vehicles issued to or used by ⁢an investigator shall not bear markings or symbols that identify the vehicle as a police cruiser⁤ or patrol vehicle,” it says.

Asked​ whether the move⁢ represents throwing in ‌the towel on property crimes, a spokeswoman for Mendelson referred The Daily Wire ​to the​ letter for evidence of the idea’s history of success.

According to a ⁤news story ​ cited by Mendelson, the idea comes from ​Mesa, Arizona,‌ when George Gascon was​ police chief. Gascon ⁢went on to‌ become police chief in San Francisco, where he took the idea with⁣ him. Gascon also promoted ⁤no-cash bail and treating people up to 24⁢ years old⁣ as essentially youth — a similar policy to the one that D.C. law enforcement ​has‍ blamed for the‌ epidemic of carjackings.

The mayor of San Francisco declined to endorse Gascon for Los⁢ Angeles district attorney after his soft-on-crime policies there. He won the Los Angeles prosecutor position, but faced calls for⁤ a recall as property crimes surged.

During the‍ defund-the-police movement of 2022, Baltimore also‍ adopted the idea, slashing ⁣30 ‍police positions and ⁣replacing them with 30 civilian “investigators.”

Following years of anti-police‍ rhetoric and soft-on-crime policies by politicians, D.C. is ‌having a​ difficult time recruiting police, and the legislation says the civilians are not intended to replace police positions,‍ but⁤ to deal with the fact that police are ⁣stretched thin dealing with violent crime and it is unable ⁢to attract more sworn officers.

In 2018, DC had 261 police recruits,​ which ​declined to only 37 in 2021. In fiscal‌ year 2023, it was ⁢130, according to police department data.

Mendelson’s letter began, “Violent crime ‌is occurring at levels not‌ seen in the District since the early 2000s. This year alone, over 260 people have been murdered, and thousands ⁣more have been violently assaulted, robbed, or carjacked. We can and must do​ better.”

It’s a sharp change from⁣ just⁤ a few months ago, when those who warned‍ of soaring crime ​were dismissed as conservatives peddling conspiracy theories. In March, Mendelson told Congress “there ⁢is not a‌ crime crisis in Washington, D.C.”

What were the mixed results of Gascon’s approach to crime in San Francisco,⁤ specifically regarding property crimes and public satisfaction?

Until their arrest, regardless of the crime committed.‍ According to‍ the article,⁤ Gascon’s approach in San Francisco has been met with mixed results, with an increase in⁢ property crimes and ⁢public dissatisfaction.

The decision to employ civilian investigators in⁣ Washington, D.C. has ⁢sparked concerns among residents and business owners. With ​property crimes on the⁤ rise and a low clearance rate for theft cases, there is ⁣a⁣ growing sense of frustration and fear of⁤ impunity among the‌ community.

The bill proposes that civilian personnel be‌ authorized to investigate commercial and residential burglaries, motor ⁣vehicle theft, ⁢theft, forgery, fraud, and other property crimes. These civilian investigators would not have badges or guns and would not be able ​to make arrests. They⁤ would be issued‌ distinct ‍uniforms and vehicles ⁣that do not‍ resemble those of sworn officers of the​ Metropolitan Police Department.

Proponents of the bill,​ including Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, argue that similar initiatives in Baltimore and San Francisco have yielded positive results. However, critics point​ out the increase in property crimes in⁤ San Francisco ⁢under Gascon’s leadership. They argue that ​the move ⁢to employ civilian investigators in Washington, D.C. may further contribute to a sense of lawlessness and hinder efforts to address property‌ crimes effectively.

The article highlights the recent ⁣incident‌ at a luxury‍ store in City Center, where robbers stole a quarter-million⁤ dollars’ worth of merchandise. ‍This incident, along with the announcement​ of the sports teams’ owners’‌ intention to move due ⁢to concerns about⁢ crime around the stadium, further ​underscores the urgent need for action.

Data cited in the article reveals a troubling⁣ clearance rate for theft cases in Washington, D.C., with only a small fraction resulting in⁢ arrests. This lack of ​accountability for ⁣property crimes ⁣not only impacts individual victims but also threatens the city’s reputation ⁢as a viable business⁤ and commerce center.

As⁢ the bill gains support among the council members, it is essential to​ consider the potential consequences of ⁤relying ⁤heavily⁤ on​ civilian investigators. Balancing the need to address active violent crimes while effectively dealing ‍with property⁤ crimes requires careful consideration and a comprehensive strategy.

The public’s safety and confidence in the criminal justice system should remain paramount.‌ While ⁣exploring innovative approaches to address ⁣resource ⁤constraints, ​it is crucial to ensure that the⁤ proposed measures do not inadvertently compromise‌ public safety or exacerbate the problem they aim to solve.

As the‍ debate continues, it is vital for policymakers, law‌ enforcement agencies,‌ and⁣ community leaders⁤ to engage in a constructive dialogue to find effective solutions. This includes considering alternative approaches, exploring potential collaborations between law enforcement and other stakeholders, and ensuring that any decisions made‌ are evidence-based and relevant to the unique⁤ challenges faced by Washington, D.C.

Ultimately, the objective should be to strike a balance between addressing the urgent need⁣ to combat ⁣violent crimes and​ maintaining effective mechanisms to tackle property crimes. By doing ⁤so, the​ city can work⁢ towards‍ creating⁣ a safe and ​secure environment​ for all its⁢ residents and businesses.

" Conservative News Daily does not always share or support the views and opinions expressed here; they are just those of the writer."

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