A surge of shootings in Washington, D.C., that left 13 people dead in the first five days of August has rattled neighborhoods across the city, with each new victim a grim reminder of the failure to contain violent crime. Nothing officials try seems to have much effect, at least in the short term. July began with 10 killings in five days, pushing the city’s homicide count toward its highest mark in two decades, reports the Washington Post. The D.C. Council passed emergency legislation making it easier to detain those accused of violent crime while they await trial, while the mayor selected a new police chief, replacing a popular leader who left for a job with the FBI. When the calendar turned, not much seemed to have changed.
Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said Sunday that he has asked the new police chief to give lawmakers suggestions on providing “more resources for the police.” Council member Trayon White Sr., whose district includes the place where three people were fatally shot and two others wounded Saturday night, said in a text message, “We need the National Guard in D.C.” D.C. has recorded at least 158 homicides this year, an increase of 22 percent over this time in 2022 that puts the city on a trajectory for its deadliest year in two decades. Homicides have dropped in other major cities, including Baltimore, Chicago, New York and Philadelphia.