U Street Corridor Public Safety Legislative and Policy Update
August 3, 2023
U Street Safety Initiative
- Kicked off the U Street Safety Initiative last summer, bringing in a consultant to get feedback from residents and business on how to restore U Street’s vibrance and end the violence. Read the report.
- Secured a dedicated funding source for U Street to manage nightlife and daytime issues, address gaps in services, manage nighttime parking demand, and direct resources. This was one of the top recommendations of the U Street Safety Initiative.
- Joined fellow Councilmembers in overwhelmingly passing the Prioritizing Public Safety Act, which gives judges additional tools to keep some of the most violent offenders off our streets and expands the Council’s popular camera rebate program. It also includes an amendment I co-introduced with Councilmember Charles Allen which requires more community-focused policing and provides additional tools to deter crime, get guns off our streets, close cases and prosecute crimes effectively.
- Introduced legislation to crack down on fake tags earlier this summer. I expect the Council to take it up this fall. The legislation gives DPW and others authority to immediately tow and impound cars whose owners have blatantly flouted the law by having clearly counterfeit, obscured, or long-expired plates. The legislation would also empower D.C. government to proactively investigate and shut down dealers and distributors of falsified and counterfeit temporary tags.
- Introduced legislation to expand the police cadet program to bolster MPD recruitment. The bill would increase cadet pay while they complete the program, making it more attractive and sustainable. The bill would also expand eligibility up to age 33. Over the last fiscal year, MPD gained only 89 new officers, while losing 190 officers.
- Spoke with the new police chief, Pamela Smith, shortly after she was appointed, and asked her to allocate additional resources to U Street.
- Submitted a formal letter of support for the Westminster Neighborhood Association liquor license moratorium for the 1900 block of 9th Street NW.
- Restored more than 50 positions at DPW, including 28 parking enforcement and five positions for an additional booting team. Stronger parking enforcement is one tool for combatting reckless driving.
- Made $4.5 million in public safety investments in Ward 1 in the FY 24 budget, including a pilot program to provide substance abuse and behavioral health services around the 600 block of T St NW.