A group of Republican lawmakers criticized D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser over her “failure” to address what they say are surging violent crime and homelessness problems in the nation’s capital.
In a letter sent Friday to the Democratic mayor, 18 GOP members of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform said that “over the past several months, the city has deteriorated to a point reminiscent of the 1990s.”
“As violent crime and homelessness 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 letter states.
The lawmakers said the city is “plagued” by violent crime and the number of homicides this year is expected to meet or exceed the 198 homicides recorded in 2020 — the highest number in 16 years.
City data as of Friday shows violent crime is up 3% compared to the same time last year, going from 2,861 to 2,941 incidents — and homicides are up 9%, from 143 to 156.
The letter also points to the 21% increase in the city’s chronically homeless population between 2019 to 2020, which jumped from 1,337 to 1,618.
“Tent communities are becoming more permanent, with some now outfitted with toilets, tables for donations, and trash [receptacles] littered with the city’s logo on them,” they wrote. “By ignoring this growing issue, your administration is contributing to these people’s suffering, not alleviating it.”
The lawmakers also noted that the mayor’s approved budget for the Metropolitan Police Department for fiscal year 2022, which began Friday, only allows the department to hire 170 new officers — which is less than the usual 280.
MPD’s FY2022 budget of $516.8 million is about 5% less than the FY2021 budget of $545.7 million, and about 8% less than the FY2020 budget of $559.5 million.
“The message coming from your office regarding the future role of, and funding for, the city’s police is contributing to the decline,” they wrote.
They asked Miss Bowser to provide a briefing on the status of MPD funding by Oct. 8, so they can “better understand the dire conditions” in the city of more than 705,000 residents.
The Washington Times on Friday sent a request for comment to a spokesperson for the mayor.