The homicide level in Washington, D.C., reached its highest threshold since 2003 after the 200th homicide (since Jan. 1) was recorded Monday evening, reported The Hill.
In 2003, there were 248 murders in the district, the last time there were over 200 homicides in a single year. Killings have steadily increased in D.C. since 2017, when 116 homicides were counted, according to Metropolitan Police Department data.
“The increase in crime has many causes, one of which being the D.C. Council’s reactionary implementation of police ‘reform’ measures,” reads a press release from the D.C. Police Union.
Several cities across the United States voted to either radically reform or defund the police after the death of George Floyd in 2020. However, as these policies have been implemented, homicide rates have increased nationwide.
The FBI reported an estimated 21,570 homicides in 2020, which was a 29.4% increase over 2019. Despite these numbers, state-level police reforms were signed in California and put into effect in Maryland in the beginning of October, the Washington Examiner reported.
“Police officers are hamstrung, if not altogether unable to do the impactful and necessary tasks needed to confiscate illegal weapons, apprehend violent criminals, and protect communities,” wrote the D.C. Police Union.
This reform, along with public opinion, has caused a mass exodus of officers from the police force. The D.C. Police Union noted that after the reform legislation passed in 2020, 417 officers left the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
Among those that left, 54% resigned, meaning that over 225 police officers walked away from the line of duty. The MPD currently has less than 3,400 officers, the lowest number in decades, according to the Union’s statement.
“Most of the members who have left cited the Council’s treatment of law enforcement and political rhetoric, which not only makes policing more difficult and therefore less effective, but it also endangers police officers and their families,” the union’s press release stated.
Despite these pressures, voters recently rejected the effort to defund the police in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Several mayors who refused to defund the police were elected in largely Democrat cities, such as Minneapolis, Seattle, and Manhattan, The New York Times reported.
“It’s about our day-to-day realities of too often feeling unsafe with the things that are unfolding,” Nekima Levy Armstong, a Minneapolis civil rights lawyer, told the Times. “Hearing the stories of children being shot and killed, and meeting the families of those children.”