D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Wednesday declared gun violence a public health crisis and said the city is launching a first-of-its-kind prevention emergency operations center.
“Last year, we had 200 people in our city who were victims of homicide and over 900 people were shot. This is a level of violence that we haven’t seen in more than a decade,” Miss Bowser said during a press conference.
The mayor said 95% of homicide victims last year were Black and noted a rise in juvenile and female victims — trends she called “disturbing.”
To address the issue, the mayor signed an executive order recognizing the crisis and establishing the gun violence prevention emergency operations center (EOC) that will be headquartered on Shannon Place in Southeast D.C.
The EOC is part of a larger initiative called “Building Blocks D.C.,” which aims to curtail future offenses by providing preventative resources to the people and areas linked to the most gun violence.
Linda Harllee Harper, who was recently appointed as the city’s first-ever gun violence prevention director, will lead the effort.