Confronting a sharp increase in crime in recent weeks, including 13 homicides since July 1, Chief of Police Charles H. Ramsey today announced that he is declaring a citywide "crime emergency" to enhance police visibility and combat neighborhood crime.
Under the crime emergency declaration, police commanders are being given greater flexibility to adjust officers' schedules and assign them to high-crime areas during peak times for criminal activity. To further enhance police visibility, districts will be increasing foot, bicycle and scooter patrols, and more officers will be working in uniform. The Chief is also expanding the redeployment program, in which officers in most specialized units and administrative assignments are regularly assigned to neighborhood patrols. The Department will evaluate the crime emergency after 30 days.
Ramsey said the crime emergency is designed to reverse a spike in crime as the summer begins. In addition to 13 homicides this month, preliminary statistics show the District has seen an 18 percent increase in robberies and a 14 percent rise in assaults with a deadly weapon over the past 30 days.
"We have seen a troubling increase in crime in recent weeks, even with the hard work and best efforts of our officers," Ramsey said, noting that MPD arrests have increased by more than 13 percent this year. "Our officers are already working very hard to combat crime, but we need to be even more flexible and more agile in how we respond to crime problems in our neighborhoods. This crime emergency will give us that added flexibility," he said.
The Chief also encouraged residents, business owners and others to get more actively involved in crime prevention efforts, by attending PSA meetings, joining Neighborhood Watch and citizen patrols, and providing information to the police. In an effort to generate more tips from the public, Ramsey announced the reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in any robbery is being increased to up to $10,000; the previous reward was up to $5,000. He also said that support from other city agencies is critical to solving neighborhood problems and combating crime.