WASHINGTON – Today, House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) and Oversight Republicans sent a letter to the mayor of the District of Columbia, Muriel Bowser, seeking an explanation on the plummeting funding levels for the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) amidst a substantial increase in homelessness and violent crime plaguing the nation’s capital.
“As homelessness and violent crime have increased at an unchecked rate throughout the city, your administration seems to have given up trying to prevent the District from falling into a state of chaos. The message coming from your office regarding the future role of, and funding for, the city’s police is contributing to the decline… In May, a mother and her five-year-old daughter were both shot walking home from the park by someone riding a scooter. By ignoring this growing issue, your administration is contributing to these people’s suffering, not alleviating it,” wrote the lawmakers.
In Washington, D.C., chronic homelessness has increased 20% in the last year and homicides are set to break the 16-year high of 2020. Recently, the mayor’s office signaled its intent to decrease funding for the MPD’s budget, limiting its resources and ability to hire new recruits. The current budget only permits the MPD to hire 170 new officers, down from a normal 280. The decision has led to the smallest police force in the nation’s capital in more than two decades.
“The emergence of vast homeless communities—where drug use and violence often go unchecked —will only exacerbate and add to the crime in the city… Further, the District is compounding the crime and homelessness issues with mixed messages coming from the D.C. government and the groups influencing it,” concluded the lawmakers.
As the Committee of jurisdiction for all matters involving the District of Columbia, the Republican lawmakers are seeking to understand the deteriorating situation and are requesting a briefing regarding the status of MPD funding.
Read the full letter to Mayor Muriel Bowser here.