Washington, D.C., and Baltimore Grapple with Rising Violence

Washington, D.C., and Baltimore Grapple with Rising Violence

by Stacy M. Brown

In the wake of a recent mass shooting in Washington, D.C., concerns over rising violence and the need for enhanced safety measures are mounting in the nation’s capital and up north in Baltimore. 

An Independence Day mass shooting in Northeast, D.C., injured nine people, including a child and teenagers.

While authorities reported no fatalities, the incident served as a stark reminder of the urgent need to address the escalating crime levels in the District, Baltimore, and communities nationwide.

In Baltimore, police apprehended a 17-year-old male suspect on Friday, July 7, believed to be connected to a devastating mass shooting in Charm City a week earlier. According to authorities, the incident resulted in two individuals’ deaths and left 28 others wounded. 

Members of the city’s homicide and SWAT teams arrested the teenage suspect at 7:00 a.m., according to a statement. 

The suspect faces multiple charges, including possessing a firearm by a minor and reckless endangerment, among others. 

The shooting unfolded at a block party shortly after midnight at Brooklyn Homes in southern Baltimore. 

Law enforcement officials revealed that most of those injured were teenagers and young adults. 

They identified the dead as 20-year-old Kylis Fagbemi and 18-year-old Aaliyah Gonzalez, a recent high school graduate. 

Three victims of the mass shooting remain hospitalized, authorities said.

Authorities have continued to urge the public to come forward with any relevant details to assist the investigation.

Meanwhile, the 13th Annual “Breaking the Silence on Youth Violence” Anti-Violence Youth Summit in the District, held on July 7 at the Metropolitan Police Department’s First District Police Station, sought to tackle various subjects related to violence prevention and awareness. 

U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, the MPD, and numerous community-based organizations welcomed over 200 youths to the event, both in-person and via live streaming.

During the summit, participants discussed gun violence prevention, drug and alcohol abuse prevention, mental health awareness, self-respect, and fostering diversity and understanding to combat bullying and violence. 

While efforts like those to promote peace and safety continue, other incidents have shaken the confidence of most residents.

Authorities deemed the Fourth of July shooting in D.C. “targeted,” highlighting the need for effective crime prevention strategies.

Before the shooting, law enforcement reported several attacks involving explosive devices. 

MPD said it’s investigating the detonation or throwing of explosive devices at three closed business locations, causing damage but no injuries. 

The motives behind the attacks remain unclear, and authorities are actively searching for the suspects involved.

“Our city must deploy as many public safety and public health resources as possible. That includes police, violence interrupters, and coordinating our Federal and regional partners throughout the entire public safety ecosystem,” Ward 7 Councilman Vincent Gray demanded. 

“While we work to overcome MPD staffing shortages, including legislation I introduced earlier this year to assist in MPD recruitment and retention, I echo every resident’s concern about public safety and their frustration with recurring violence.”

Gray continued: “We must also quickly take measures to ensure that people arrested for violent crimes, particularly gun crimes, are being adequately monitored and, where applicable, detained until trial. 

“On average, a person convicted for murder in the District has eleven prior arrests. People who should not fall through the cracks are falling through the cracks.”

Leonard A. Sipes Jr., a retired senior public affairs specialist for a D.C.-based governmental agency, noted the growing trend of people relocating to areas that offer a measure of peace and safety. 

Sipes noted that homicides have increased nationally by 50 percent, and aggravated assaults by 36 percent since 2019.

He said fear of crime “is at an all-time high,” adding that the increased concern and dissatisfaction with the current situation drive this migration.

“It seems that many are concerned about the safety of their families. They want order rather than disorder. Every day they are assaulted by news headlines of homicides, carjackings, and other forms of violence,” Sipes asserted.

“In D.C., I have never seen a city with so many bars on doors and windows. Baltimore is less positioned economically than D.C., and the flight of residents is increasing. We may be addressing the economic destruction of some cities as businesses and citizens flee,” he said.

Source: Published without changes from Washington Informer Newspaper

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