- The Washington Times - Monday, July 17, 2006

The District’s crime rate has slowed after the declaration of a crime emergency during each of the past three years, and the current emergency appears to be following suit.

Two slayings, including one in Northwest yesterday, have been recorded in the District since police Chief Charles H. Ramsey declared an emergency Wednesday. There had been 13 killings in the first 11 days of this month.

Meanwhile, Mayor Anthony A. Williams yesterday asked the D.C. Council to return from its summer recess to act on emergency anti-crime legislation he is proposing.

“Asking the council to approve legislation on an emergency basis is not something I take lightly, and I recognize that some members of the council may object to elements of my plan,” said Mr. Williams, a Democrat.

“But I believe this effort is in the best interests of our city’s residents and visitors, and I hope that the council will set aside partisan differences to quickly approve these much-needed changes.”

He is expected to brief the council on his crime package today. Sources said council Chairman Linda W. Cropp, an at-large Democrat who is running for mayor, plans to convene a special session tomorrow to address the measures.

Among the proposals are plans to fund overtime for officers on six-day workweeks during the crime emergency, change the juvenile curfew from midnight to 10 p.m., authorize the use of the city’s surveillance cameras as crime-fighting tools and approve the installation of more cameras.

Currently, the city’s network of 19 closed-circuit surveillance cameras is activated only during public events or emergencies. Mr. Williams proposed similar legislation in April, and it remains before the council’s Judiciary Committee.

The mayor said the immediate goal is to reduce violent crime by 50 percent in the next 30 days. That goal is more ambitious than the reductions experienced after other crime emergencies.

In December, Chief Ramsey declared an emergency when four persons were killed in unrelated incidents in a six-hour period during the first two days of that month.

Nine additional killings were recorded in December — four fewer than were recorded in December 2004.

In 2004, Chief Ramsey declared an emergency after four persons were killed in three automobile accidents from June 19 to July 14. Each accident involved D.C. teenagers driving stolen vehicles.

After having recorded 819 stolen autos in June 2004, the District had 653 cases in July, when the crime emergency was declared. The number continued to decline that August, when police recorded 571 stolen autos.

In August 2003, the first time Chief Ramsey declared a crime emergency, crime was up 2 percent overall in the city, but each of the seven police districts experienced a spike in at least one type of crime.

After the crime emergency was invoked, police recorded a 15 percent decrease in overall violent crime and a 30 percent reduction in homicides.

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