It is no secret that the AUC is heavily populated with people from the DMV. No, this is not place where driver’s licenses are issued, but rather Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. Despite all the historic monuments and buildings the capitol is known for and students may be proud of, D.C. is also crime ridden and experiencing an unforeseen spike in homicides compared to last year.
As of Labor Day weekend, the death toll of 11 individuals rose to 109. This is already more than the 105 homicides for the entire 2014 year.
Chief of Police Cathy Lanier has blamed the spike in crime on the release of repeat violent offenders, a rise in synthetic drug use and an increase in domestic violence resulting in fatalities. Lanier, along with Mayor Muriel Bowser, look to increase law enforcement and to have All Hands on Deck (AHOD) on weekends throughout the rest of the year.
Wards 5 and 7, which include the neighborhoods in Northeast like Brookland, Ivy City and Trinidad along with Naylor Gardens, Barry Farms and Anacostia in Southeast, have been the scene of more than half of the year’s homicides. Along with Ward 8, they are where almost 90 percent of crime has concentrated.
Many feel more police involvement will not help but be counterproductive to the situation, creating an intense atmosphere.
“When a generation’s survival becomes indeterminable because of the mishaps of poverty and gentrification, violence becomes the impoverished [people’s] first resort,” Morehouse sophomore Monte Prillaman said.
The constant displacement of low-income residents and small businesses, and the resulting effects on the community, are the real underlying causes for increased violence. Though their behavior is inexcusable, some people committing these horrific crimes are only trying to make a way or dangerously exerting their anger.
Ashley Younger, a sophomore at Clark Atlanta University, lost her brother to the rising homicidal violence. She feels that the constant competitive nature of D.C. and surrounding areas is what gives fuel to the violence.
“Everybody is out for themselves,” Younger said.
The D.C. community is anxious to see how Lanier and Bowser will handle this very dangerous situation. So far, the community is not pleased with the little progress being made. With a quarter of the year left, many hope the death toll does not continue to rise.
Staff Writer – Features