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11th-Hour Push Underway to Gut D.C. Crime Bill

Posted on Wednesday, February 14, 2024
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by Andrew Shirley
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24 Comments

AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Shirley

Washington D.C./ USA Police cars patrol for crime on the streets.

A new bill aimed at reducing crime in the nation’s capital is making its way through the Washington, D.C. City Council. But left-wing activists and some city officials are already undermining the legislation and paving the way for criminals to continue wreaking havoc in the District.

On February 6, the D.C. City Council unanimously passed the “Secure D.C. Omnibus Amendment Act of 2024,” a comprehensive legislative package which represents a dramatic reversal from prior efforts by the city council to erode the ability of the Metropolitan Police Department and the court system to catch and punish criminals. If the bill survives a second vote toward the end of February, it will go to the desk of Mayor Muriel Bowser, who is expected to sign it into law.

The legislation contains a number of major overhauls to D.C.’s criminal code. Some of the most notable include: provisions allowing police to create “drug-free zones” (a badly needed measure to combat open-air drug markets); an extension of the statute of limitations for serious crimes such as attempted murder and sexual abuse; an expanded definition of carjacking to more effectively prosecute offenders; and allowing police to chase criminals who pose an imminent danger to the public. (A 2021 D.C. law banned virtually all police chases in the city, contributing to an explosion of carjackings by offenders who knew they would not be pursued.)

The bill also makes directing retail theft a punishable crime, a provision aimed at stopping the rash of robberies that have decimated D.C.’s retail industry. As AMAC Newsline reported in January, dozens of stores throughout the city have been emptied by thieves, part of a nationwide epidemic of organized retail theft. These thieves often set up shop just blocks from the stores they robbed, selling stolen wares at low prices.

Notably, the same Democrats on the city council now backing the Secure D.C. Act voted just one year ago for the “Revised Criminal Code Act” – a bill that took precisely the opposite approach to “criminal justice reform.” That bill, which was sold as “modernizing” D.C.’s criminal code, would have virtually eliminated all mandatory minimum sentencing, reduced maximum penalties for crimes like robbery and carjacking, and granted sex offenders a shot at early release.

The bill was so extreme that Mayor Bowser – a leftist through and through – vetoed the legislation. Though the city council ultimately overrode her veto, the bill was finally blocked by a disapproval resolution that passed the U.S. Congress and was ultimately signed by President Joe Biden – another testament to just how extreme the Council’s legislation was.

However, rising crime in the nation’s capital has caused at least some Democrats in the city government to change course. D.C. is currently enmeshed in a crime epidemic which, according to Axios, “saw a 39% increase in violent crime, a 26% increase in overall crime, and the most homicides in over 25 years” in 2023. Carjackings in the District also nearly doubled last year and don’t seem to be slowing down in 2024.

The Secure D.C. Act, the latest legislation, is effectively an admission by the Council that soft-on-crime policies aren’t working, and the city is in crisis. At-large council member Kenyan McDuffie, who last year voted for the Revised Criminal Code Act, told a local Fox affiliate that “what we’re experiencing right now is absolutely unacceptable” and the Secure D.C. Act is the council’s effort to “try to improve conditions.”

But some left-wing activists and D.C. Democrats don’t see it that way. Although the bill passed unanimously following a first reading, that was only after some holdouts on the Council successfully lobbied to remove provisions which would have made it a crime to wear a mask while “caus[ing] another person to fear for his or her personal safety” and allowed law enforcement to collect DNA from individuals if they are arrested. This latter measure would have allowed police to more easily connect criminals to earlier crimes, but some Council members alleged that it would have unfairly targeted minority residents.

The current version of the bill also includes a caveat stating that police can only declare an area a drug-free zone for 15 consecutive days, as well as a legal mechanism which would sunset changes to pretrial detention statutes after 225 days. One of the most controversial aspects of the bill on the left are changes to D.C.’s bail laws which reverse course on efforts to end cash bail. If passed in its current form, the Secure D.C. Act would mean that accused criminals could once again be held on bail – but only for a limited time.

Some activist groups in D.C. are pressuring the Council to gut the bill even further. The Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission, a local governing body representing an affluent part of D.C., has approved a resolution demanding that the Council remove the provisions allowing police to create drug-free zones and re-establishing pre-trial detention, claiming that the measures are “too expensive.” The D.C. chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union also issued a statement opposing the bill, specifically claiming that drug-free zones do not prevent crime.

It seems that some Democrats in D.C. are beginning to come to their senses about the unsustainable levels of crime and chaos gripping the city. But with a number of passionate leftists both in and out of the city government clinging to the same failed policies, hopes for real change may soon be dashed.

Andrew Shirley is a veteran speechwriter and AMAC Newsline columnist. His commentary can be found on X at @AA_Shirley.

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PaulE
PaulE
2 months ago

D.C., like NYC, LA, San Francisco and other Democrat run strongholds are NOT interested in “Rule of Law” or other standards of a safe, secure and prosperous civil society. Chaos and crime are integral parts of clearing a path of ever more radical leftist policies that will further destabilize society and thus create the huge, government-dependent welfare state needed to ensure permanent Democrat power and control of the populace. Conditioning the general public to accept and live with greater and greater levels of crime and lack of any law enforcement is but one step in a multi-step approach to achieving their endgame. To be able to defeat the enemy, one has to understand the enemy and his motives for the actions he takes. The author focuses instead of just the latest attempt to what will more than likely be another failed effort to paper over the larger problem.

D.C., like the other Democrat run strongholds around the country, is populated by a majority of citizens that, no matter what, continue to vote Democrat no matter how bad things get. Time after time after time. When a population has been successfully dumbed down sufficiently to vote against their own self interests in such a consistent manner, there is little reason to expect any real improvement will likely be successful. As long as people continue to complain about ever rising rates of crime, but continue to vote straight-line Democrat (which today means supporting an openly socialist or Marxist agenda), the end result will be no change for the better.

One of the major purposes of the mass importation of illegal aliens into this country is to increase the number of like-minded, largely uneducated or completely illiterate, easily manipulated and controlled people in every voting district across the country. People already used to socialism or Marxism and that are already conditioned to accept it without question or resistance. The end goal being that eventually every part of the United States will look and be just like the dysfunctional cities the Democrats already control. Just like D.C., where they kicked out one Democrat pushing bad policies, to only turn around and elect another Democrat pushing essentially the same bad policies.

WJS
WJS
2 months ago

One should ask whatever happened to common sense. Not stopping crime creates more crime. The problem is the same people create these stupid laws continue to get re-electing. Look just re-happened in New York the voters putting back in the democrat that primarily votes all in valor of the democratic agenda.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
2 months ago

Like the self-created border chaos, they don’t need new or more laws, just to enforce ones already on the books! Perhaps its an overused term these days like “racist” but the damage these people are doing to this country can only be described as treason. While not on the dramatic scale of a one-day terrorist event like 9-11, their actions result in economic damage and the murder of innocent lives. All in the name of the Democrat cause. We invaded a country to get the perpetrators of 9-11 but run re-election campaigns for people who cause as much, if not more, fundamental damage to America then a terrorist attack!

tommy2sweet
tommy2sweet
2 months ago

Time to get the crime in D.C. under control by any LEGAL means possible.

Kaiju
Kaiju
2 months ago

Common Sense has been replaced by Idiocracy

David Millikan
David Millikan
2 months ago

Hasn’t anyone learned yet that democrats protect criminals (antifa, blm, Illegal Aliens, Terrorist, Dictator Beijing biden, Communist China, Soros, WHO, U.N., H. Clinton, E. Holder, Communist harris, Fani, corrupt Judges, bureaucrats, list goes on and on).
Keep voting democrat and keep supporting criminals.
This is one of many reasons I am voting for President Trump and that is to protect the American legal citizens from the criminals mentioned above.

Patriot Bill
Patriot Bill
2 months ago

I don’t buy into any of this “new laws” BS. There are existing laws that cover all the crime in the country. Justice is what is lacking. Clearly the judicial system in DC is breaking the law every day

Theresa Coughlin
Theresa Coughlin
2 months ago

If Washington DC and the rest of democrat run cities want to fight crime and keep law-abiding citizens safe, there’s an easy way to do it: ENFORCE THE LAWS ON THE BOOKS AND PUNISH CRIMINALS TO THE FULLEST EXTENT OF THE LAW! Trouble is the people running the cities won’t do so because they’re afraid of being called racist.

CLIFFORD F GERACI
CLIFFORD F GERACI
2 months ago

The Progressive Socio Fascist Democrats are adept at creating Chaos and Anarchy (“Revised Criminal Code Act) Then justifying why they need more power and money to “solve” the problem, such as this new bill….If they were not so good at “bribing” voters this would not be a problem because they would never get elected.

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
2 months ago

Why make DC ” safer” right
Hey DC U seeded this years ago

Larry Hankins
Larry Hankins
2 months ago

Thank you for the information. Everyone is conservative with their own money. Evil people don’t care if innocent people are destroyed. It’s just another day for them.

anna hubert
anna hubert
2 months ago

We do not need any more bills or sessions or discussions All the law we need is on the books already Apply it to everyone without exceptions and excuses Never mind the screech about the white supremacy and racism

Brian
Brian
2 months ago

“Drug free zones don’t prevent crime” well, neither do “Gun free zones” but you have them, making law abiding citizens easy targets.

Sean Rickman
Sean Rickman
2 months ago

Washington D,C.is the capitol city of AMERICA and should be a role model for our country,and sadly it is.It represents the lawlessness in many of AMERICAS cities,large and small.Its totally unacceptable to pat criminals on the back and turn them loose to commit more crimes.That doesn’t seem to be enough for the liberal,leftist democrats,so now they want open borders to bring in more crime.Much of this lawlessness gained ground with obama,then came Pesident Trump and it did start to slow down,then with joey’s”shoe in”,crime and murders have exploded.

Tom
Tom
2 months ago

Enforce the Law that exists!!! Anything else is Useless.. More Stupidity!!

Wayne
Wayne
2 months ago

Here’s an idea. Get rid of ALL the politicians and the crime rate will drop by 99%

Let's Go Brandon
Let's Go Brandon
2 months ago

I worked in and around DC in the late 1980s and it was crime infested then. So much, you had an 80% chance of being robbed, when stopped at a red light.
Nothing has changed in that democrat ruled shithole

Gary
Gary
2 months ago

This is all biblical and spiritual, the Turning Away From The Lord in our country, I’m just talking collectively as a nation of course. 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 because you refused to follow my ways I will send the spirit a strong illusion upon you ,if you want to believe a lie I’ll let you believe a lie, also the Lord said what’s good is bad right as wrong it’s all flipped upside down .the Bible is dual prophecie,what happened to the Israelite the 10 the 12 tribes is happening to our country now, they turn then and they went into captivity and judgment the same thing is happening to us now.

John Shipway
John Shipway
2 months ago

Who cares about the future of the D.C.? Let it burn, the stench will blow out to sea in short order. What on earth is there in D.C. to “save”?

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