- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 17, 2003

Mayor Tony Williams will not order his law-enforcement officers to query suspected ne’er do wells about their immigration status. “It’s not established that immigration status and gang activities are connected,” the mayor’s spokesman, Tony Bullock, told us last week. “The vast majority [of gang members] are U.S. citizens. I can’t be sure that they all are.” Nobody expects police to know if “they all are,” but police still should ask for identification. And, immigration status notwithstanding, the fact of the matter is that the mayor and Police Chief Charles Ramsey are not doing enough to curb rising violence.

The administration says it is utilizing open-container laws, a new 7 p.m.-3 a.m. work shift and anti-gang units. Police also are making arrests. Last week, for example, police arrested a leader of the notorious Street Thug Criminals, a gang involved in much of the violence in Columbia Heights. “It’s a volatile situation,” Mr. Bullock said. “These are retribution-type killings … we want to be careful not to exacerbate the situation.”

“Exacerbate the situation?” We wholeheartedly endorse a tougher law-and-order approach, even this late in the weak crimefight that led to the nation’s capital reclaiming the moniker “Murder Capital.” However, we part ways with Mr. Bullock’s assertion that, by police doing their jobs, they might “exacerbate the situation.”

Mr. Bullock is delusional. Several D.C. neighborhoods are havens for gangs and other violent offenders — and neither the mayor nor his gurus need state-of-the-art GPS technology to identify them. We urge the mayor to take a tougher stand against crime. Until that happens, we will reserve any accolades.

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