Washington, D.C. Mayor Bowser Declares Public Emergency Amid Juvenile Crime And Opioid Crisis

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Muriel Bowser, mayor of Washington, D.C., has called a state of emergency in the nation’s district amid an uptick in juvenile crime and opioid-related deaths.

On Monday (Nov. 13), Bowser announced a myriad of efforts to help temper the rising crime rate in D.C. by responding “more efficiently and urgently” to those pressing issues in the capital. This will reportedly be achieved through “expedited procurement, the disbursement of funds, and the activation, implementation, and coordination of mutual aid agreements between the District and federal, state, or local jurisdictions, as appropriate.”

In a press release from Bowser’s office, these public issues are perceived as a citywide crisis and will be attacked accordingly. In recent years, opioid-related deaths have skyrocketed, with 461 reported last year, more than double the tally counted in 2018. According to public records, 96 percent of those opioid-related fatalities involved fentanyl.

Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser
D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser speaks during the Moms Demand Action Gun Violence Rally on June 8, 2022 in Washington, DC. Politicians and activists continued their push for additional gun safety legislation following a series of deadly mass shootings in the U.S.

Another focus under the state of emergency is the climb in crimes committed amongst juveniles, particularly violent crimes such as murder, robbery, and assault with a deadly weapon. Carjacking is another offense that has risen exponentially among youth, with some reports stating that juveniles accounted for an overwhelming majority of the carjacking arrests made in Washington, D.C. this year. Stats show that between the beginning of 2023 and October, 458 minors were arrested in total, a 10 percent increase from the year prior.

In terms of gun-related crimes, 97 juveniles have been shot in Washington, D.C. this year, with 15 of those victims succumbing to their injuries. A number of those victims were under court-ordered electronic monitoring during the times of the shootings.

“This number alone tells us that we have to provide more intervention for kids who are in trouble,” Bowser said during a press conference Monday. “To that end, this public emergency will allow us to increase capacity more quickly and efficiently across the continuum of placements for kids that are ordered by judges into care.”

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