In an effort to mirror a lauded program launched in California, Washington, DC officials had plan to pay violent gun offenders a stipend to stop clapping. The plan would have acted as an antidote of sorts, as the city would switch it up and attack gun violence as a health issue, instead of a criminal one, in the wake of a 53% increase in homicide’s last year. However, those plans are now deaded, and many are blaming Mayor Muriel Bowser.
Bowser was hostile to the plan, sponsored by D.C. Council member Kenyan R. McDuffie (D-Ward 5), saying she preferred a more robust police response. As a result, the judiciary chairman said he would not try to fund it by diverting money from other programs if Bowser would only implement it half-heartedly or not at all.
“This is the mayor’s budget, and what we’ve done is try to improve it where we can, but it’s her budget,” said McDuffie. “It’s her ideas and her strategies for preventing crime, and it’s time to see how they work; she clearly sees things differently than the 13 members of the council.”
The Post reports:
McDuffie advanced a public safety budget to the full council on Thursday that funds select parts of council’s crime bill — including a requirement that police collect and analyze more data on stop-and-frisk activities, funds to reconstitute a homicide elimination strategy task force and money for a pilot program for social workers at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.
McDuffie dropped plans to add millions in funding for two new offices created under the council’s legislation that would coordinate dozens of crime prevention efforts now run by schools, the city health department, police and others.
Bowser has maintained that the council’s approach would have created unneeded bureaucracy and that more than a dozen offices are already doing similar work. Apart from the stipend program, the mayor has said she and the council do not differ dramatically in their approach to crime.
The Nation’s Capital was one of three cities (Chicago and Baltimore being the others) that accounted for the most of the increase of bodies dropped in major cities. Hopefully, Mayor Bowser has an effective plan in mind.