Washington, D.C., authorities started a task force to reduce violence in multiple nightlife centers six months ago, ultimately seeing violent crime decrease in those areas, according to Axios.
In June, Mayor Muriel Bowser highlighted the debut of the Nightlife Task Force, led by the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice and Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), to address busy nightlife corridors on Friday and Saturday nights. The task force includes police, Department of Transportation, fire and emergency services personnel and alcohol regulators, who patrol nightlife areas around H Street NE, U Street NW, and Connecticut Avenue near Dupont Circle, Axios reported.
Violent crime decreased by 50% or more in each of those areas when the task force was on the streets compared to the same times in 2021, though overall crime rose in the H street area by 8%, according to the outlet’s analysis of MPD statistics. H Street’s Sticky Fingers vegan diner owner Doron Petersan, who was recently carjacked, said a more visible police presence could improve the area, as car robberies, vandalism and pickpocketing caused happy hour and evening service to decrease over the last year.
U Street’s DC9 nightclub owner Bill Spieler said he noticed reduced gunfire and ATV activity outside the business, but said the task force’s street closures make customer access to businesses harder, Axios reported. MPD Assistant Police Chief Morgan Kane said street closures occur on a case-by-case basis, with patrol cars lit up to lower crime opportunities, and reported that leaders are thinking about using the policing model elsewhere in D.C.
Homicides and overall violent crime fell by roughly 10% and 7%, respectively, districtwide in 2022 compared to the previous year, with burglaries going down by about 10% and overall crime decreasing by about 4%, according to MPD statistics.
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