Police officers outside a Victorian style house (courtesy ammoland.com)
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Skyrocketing crime in major cities was a tragic consequence of the confluence of several factors. There was the coronavirus pandemic, prolonged lockdowns, defund the police riots and the rise in soft-on-crime city prosecutors that refused – and still do – to hold criminals accountable. Just one month ago, The Washington Post editorial board decried a devastating trend in the nation’s Capital that appears at odds with how things are going in other major metropolitans across the country.

“Violent crime declined in nearly every major U.S. city last year. The District was a tragic outlier,” the editors noted. They “took a hard look” at who was responsible for the city not becoming any safer. Washington, D.C., they pointed out, had the fifth-highest homicide rate in 2023 at just under 40 per 100,000, trailing only Memphis, St. Louis, Baltimore and Detroit.

What happened next most certainly shocked the editors. They asked 12 random D.C. residents their opinions on what could be done to make Washington, D.C., safer. It turns out these residents reflect the feelings of the larger American population that want police to have a strong presence and they want criminals prosecuted.

Remember that The Washington Post has never met a gun control scheme it didn’t favor. And for all the crowing from gun control activists about the historic surge in firearm sales over the past three to four years, in a city that is one of the strictest on gun control in the nation, not one answer called for more of it.

Cops on the Beat

If Washington, D.C., is so severely going to limit the ability of law-abiding residents to purchase and possess a firearm to exercise their Second Amendment rights for self-defense, then at least the city can provide adequate law enforcement services to do the job. However, in 2020, the D.C. City Council “slashed the police budget” by $15 million to appease activists’ calls demanding to defund the police. It worked – in 2023, the D.C. police force staffing level reached a half-century low. Residents noticed and are livid.

“We need more police officers so they are visible and can respond to crime as it is happening,” said D.C. resident K.D. Turner. “I called 911 when some young people were trying to break into a neighbor’s house and then started harassing me — but no one ever came.”

Susan Gundling, also of Washinton, D.C., kept it succinct, saying, “We need to hire more police officers.”

Suggesting D.C. hire more cops to walk the neighborhoods, Douglas Singer of Washington offered his request. “To reduce crime in D.C., I would get the police out of their cars and onto the streets. Sitting in their cars, officers can all too easily be on their phones or otherwise distracted. Even if they are stationed on the street with their cars, they should be outside their vehicles, visible to the public and paying attention.”

Get Tough

If D.C. residents get their wish for more cops to arrest the criminals breaking the law, their next concern is that those criminals are actually prosecuted and put behind bars. The problem is the prosecutors currently in charge don’t even believe that simple request is an effective solution.

The current high crime rate in D.C. led to a community discussion in February where angry residents gave community officials an earful. At the community panel, D.C. Attorney General Brian Schwalb threw gasoline on the fire when he tried to assuage attendees concerns.

“We as a city and a community need to be much more focused on prevention… if we want to be safer in the long run,” AG Schwalb said in a now-viral clip. “We cannot prosecute and arrest our way out of it.”

The residents that The Washington Post spoke to strongly disagree. “There needs to be accountability when someone commits a crime. I think things have gone too far in removing accountability for perpetrators,” said K.D. Turner.

D.C. resident Alexander Ioannidis said, “Make sure there are real consequences for crimes and emphasize prosecution.”

Peter Michel of nearby Alexandria, Va., highlighted the scourge of carjackings plaguing the nation’s Capital, where car thieves are going into suburbs like Alexandria too.

“Current and potential carjackers need to know police will catch them and prosecutors will employ the full extent of the law against them,” Michel said. “Juvenile armed carjackers need to know that the justice system will prosecute them as adults, without opportunities for diversion programs or other second-chance options.”

The Kicker: Loosen Gun Restrictions

Of all the answers given of how Washington, D.C., can become a safer city, one resident had a clear understanding of the importance of the Constitutional rights to keep and bear arms. While no other respondent even mentioned increasing gun control, Ioannidis offered a seldom heard perspective.

“I would make it a little bit easier to own and carry a gun legally,” Ioannidis said in his answer. “In Tennessee, I had a lifetime carry permit, and shooting at the range with my dad was a recreational activity where we spent quality time. My 9mm handgun is still at my parents’ home in Tennessee because I am a law-abiding gun owner who wants to do this the right way (unlike the criminals who commit gun violence). But I would feel safer knowing there were good guys around who were responsible gun owners and could protect us while we waited for the police should something horrible happen.”

Ioannidis’s responses sound a lot like how most law-abiding gun owners, new and old, view gun ownership. Firearm industry data has shown March 2024 was the 56th month in a row with more than 1 million FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) verifications for the purchase of a firearm. And on top of that, data reveals approximately 30 percent of those purchases were completed by first-time gun buyers, likely fed up with feeling helpless and vulnerable and wanting to take up their own personal and family security into their own hands.

Local media reports across the country show gun buyers are responsible, searching for training and educational classes and more opportunities to practice safe and responsible gun handling. That includes, or course, in Washington, D.C.

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  1. “because I am a law-abiding gun owner who wants to do this the right way (unlike the criminals who commit gun violence). But I would feel safer knowing there were good guys around who were responsible gun owners and could protect us while we waited for the police should something horrible happen.” Sez the guy who left his 9mm roscoe at his parents home in Tennessee. Still waiting on others to protect him instead of taking responsibility for his own safety. No sympathy for him from me.

    • Violence is Violence which makes Gun Violence concocted words used to besmirch a Constitutional Right. The catch words Gun Violence, Assault Rifle,
      Saturday Night Special, Airport Undetectable, etc. dupes Gun Control History lliterates into assuming if there were no guns there would be no violence. The History of Gun Control tells a different story…

    • Maybe the guy has a brain. If I’m in D-sleaze and you ask, I left my 9mm gun at home in KY. Then when you try to hold me up with a knife you can find out though we argue about effective calibers on TTAG, .45, .40, .38 all suck to have pointed at you.

      I don’t consider myself a habitual liar, but no need to incriminate myself or volunteer all the details all the time.

      • There’s also no need to stick around the scene after you smoke some thug.

        If you’re gonna get arrested anyway, at least make them work for it. Mostly, being *public servants* they won’t work very hard so if you work moderately hard at getting away, you probably will.

        It’s not like you peacefully demonstrated outside the Capitol on the wrong day or something.

  2. DC, Memphis, St. Louis, Baltimore, Detroit, must be Ze Germans responsible for all that violent crime.

  3. Tunner called 911 about someone breaking into a neighbor’s house and no one came. Well, let me tell you a war story. I checked 10-86. Beginning of my shift. Immediately given an ex-parte. We usually picked those up in dispatch. When I walk in the Sheriff is there and it’s obviously a shit show. Turns out a 911 call came in. “There’s a n… breaking into my neighbor’s house. You better get here quick, or I’m going to kill him.” Dale got there and the n… was dead. (Sorry Debbie) Turns out the neighbor confronted the felon after the 911 call. Said felon attempted to disarm the 911 caller. He got shot in the head with a Beretta 92 for his trouble. The ex-parte? I walked it back to Mrs. Lewis’ office. Same guy. Mother and sister had seen the judge that morning. He was fresh out of DOC and had stolen everything of value and began breaking into everything else he could find. I asked the Sheriff if we were going to send it to the SAO. The Sheriff, “Hell, no! That guy has been a pain in our ass for years. We’re going going to buy that guy more ammo.”

    • I’m not a fan of Bowser, but she is, relative to DC council, the only adult in the room. She vetoed the otherwise unanimous DC Council attempt to reduce penalties and reduce prosecution of violent crime in the middle of DC stunning crime wave increase.

  4. Law Enforcement.
    Enforcing the law does not require you to be protected by a law enforcement officer.
    They will more then gladly arrest you for protecting yourself against a criminal.
    To Protect and Serve?

    • Well, the “law abiding” tend to be easy prey. Criminals, not so much.

      You’re easier to target and easier to take advantage of because you have a core belief in a “fair system” that doesn’t exist at this point in time.

      Decades ago it would have been openly called “being a sucker” but these days the people who were so fond of that phrase don’t like it so much because it now applies to them.

  5. “If Washington, D.C., is so severely going to limit the ability of law-abiding residents to purchase and possess a firearm to exercise their Second Amendment rights for self-defense, then at least the city can provide adequate law enforcement services to do the job.”

    Cites facts not in evidence while ignoring facts that are in evidence.

    Your base assumption should be that, at absolute best, .gov is indifferent to your well being. Because it is, by necessity.

    On most days that end in “Y”, .gov is actively hostile to your interests because your interests do not dovetail with those of the people who make up .gov.

    I know 16 year olds who grasp this instinctively and do so without having significant “anti government” life experience. I’m not sure why it’s as hard as it obviously is for the middle aged and OFWGs to get.

      • *bites fingers*

        Let’s be real here, the actual truth to that will just cause problems if openly stated directly.

        The vast majority are not ready… yet. It will take an at least partial collapse of their world for that to occur.

  6. Just look at total DC residents incarcerated in given year and look at violent crime per year. It follows exactly over a 30 year trend. As DC has a jail, but does not have its own prison, and uses nearby federal prisons you have to use DC Corrections Dept number of total residents incarcerated in DC jail, and DC criminals in federal prison, and that means actually incarcerated, not on some monitoring program.
    Here are the numbers: in 2012 DC had 88 murders, and in 2023 it had some 274 murders. Why? Because in 2012 DC had 6,400 residents incarcerated and in 2023 it had 1,400 incarcerated. What caused DC’s general rise in violent crime, including gun crimes committed with both legal and illegal guns (as well as with knives) is the emptying of the prisons.

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