[Mintwood-place] Your Help Needed/Tougher Laws Youth Crime & Victims Rights
Jim at grahamwone.com
Fri Mar 26 08:31:40 EDT 2010
We are once again experiencing a spike in crew/gang related violence in Ward One. Over the last 2 weeks, in Ward 1 alone, we have had multiple shootings, all of which were targeted, crew related incidents. Beefs, retaliation, gun shots. Several young men were wounded. No arrests as yet. They are all now back on the streets, with their fellow crew members, angry and probably armed. We have strong police presence, but the most recent shooting occurred right in front of an MPD camera with the police on patrol literally seconds away.
I have worked hard on the Council fighting for BOTH enhanced enforcement powers and funding for best practice gang / crew prevention and intervention programs. I have authored $2.5 million in funding to establish the citywide gang intervention strategy. And this summer will be the 9th year for my Ward One summer youth employment program that employs young people between ages 14 - 21 who do not typically sign up for the DOES Summer Youth Employment Program.
There is no substitute for effective enforcement and police action, however. Last year, I was pleased the Council adopted the first 2 recommendations contained in the Blueprint for Action: Responding to Gang / Crew Violence in the District of Columbia which I funded. (Copies are available in my Office) Chief Lanier and Mayor Fenty have led the way in implementing those recommendations.
This week I reviewed the arrest and other records of an 18 year old man (now charged with murder). It was a sorry tale of offense after offense between the age of 14 and 18. Judge after judge did not take the charges seriously enough. If the public could see these records, there would be such a public outcry against how our criminal prosecution system works with youthful offenders.
I am absolutely convinced that one of the reasons we have such a high level of youth violence in this city is this: Young criminals think they have nothing to fear from the courts and the prose. Their greatest fear is instead what will happen to them on the streets.
So once again, I have joined Councilmember Evans in co-introducing a bill (18-595) to strengthen the ability of MPD, the Office of the Attorney General and the US Attorney's Office to fight entrenched crime in our neighborhoods. Councilmember Mendelson, Chair of the Committee on Public Safety and Justice has scheduled a public hearing on the bill on April 19.
As introduced, the bill:
* Enhances mandatory sentencing guidelines for known criminal street gang members using a firearm while committing a crime.
* Authorizes filing civil actions against persons that obstruct, hinder, impede the free use of public space and free passage on public space.
* Adds evidence of firearms to the Drug Related Nuisance Abatement laws.
* Makes possession of PCP a felony offense.
* Allows witnesses and victims access to certain information on juvenile proceedings.
* Establishes a Community Impact Statement which allows 1 or more members of a community to submit a statement to a Judge prior to the sentencing of a convicted criminal. (Related to this, I have been very supportive and pleased with the work of Cecilia Jones and the Community Criminal Justice Accountability Initiative)
We need your testimony and support on April 19. Please let me know if you would like a copy of the bill.
Bests, CM Jim Graham
I typically answer emails before 9 AM on weekdays. If you email me after that, it is likely that you will hear from me the next weekday. If there is a need to communicate prior to that, you may wish to call me. For most effective communication, please use my direct email address: jim at grahamwone.com<mailto:jim at grahamwone.com>
Jim Graham, Councilmember, Ward One, 1350 Pa. Ave., NW, #105, Washington, DC 20004. 202-724-8181; 202-724-8109 (fax).
Chairman, Committee on Public Works and Transportation (including alcohol regulation). Main Committee Number: 202-724-8195. 1350 Pa. Ave., NW, #116, Washington, DC 20004.
Voting Member, Board of Directors, WMATA/Metro.
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