Judiciary Committee Update - Public Safety Walks in all 8 Wards

Posted by
V. Casarrubias
October 27, 2023

Dear Neighbor,

These last few weeks, I conducted public safety walks in all eight wards with residents, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners, public safety agencies, and community organizations to hear directly from you about your neighborhood-specific public safety needs. Thank you to the hundreds of neighbors who joined me and shared insight on their most pressing needs and provided feedback on my expansive Secure DC plan to improve safety in the District.  

As Chairwoman of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, I deeply value community engagement to inform all of my work at the Council, which is why it was important to me that residents and my colleagues could join these safety walks. On every walk across the District, I found that my Secure DC plan fills critical gaps raised by residents and representatives from agencies across the public safety ecosystem, from improving job training and career readiness, to preventing the incidence of repeat offenders from harming our communities, to addressing the proliferation of illegal guns in our streets, to increasing coordination and transparency across District Government.

I want to share some of my key takeaways from issues raised in each ward and the ways in which my Secure DC plan intends to address those concerns.

Ward 1

Residents in Ward 1 walked west along the U Street corridor toward 14th & U St NW and discussed their concerns about nightlife safety for residents and businesses, the need for increased access to mental health supports and responses, and staffing challenges at MPD. Thank you to Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau for joining.

My Secure DC plan addresses these issues by:


Ward 2

Residents in Ward 2 walked through Shaw and asked for increased lighting along neighborhood streets, after school programing for youth and families, and accountability for gun violence.  

My Secure DC plan addresses these issues by:


Ward 3

Residents in Ward 3 walked north along Connecticut Ave NW from Sedgwick Street and discussed a desire for increased accountability for repeat offenders and improved mental health supports and services. Thank you, Ward 3 Councilmember Matt Frumin, for joining.  

My Secure DC plan addresses these issues by:  


Ward 4

Residents in Ward 4 walked north along Georgia Ave from Upshur St NW to Kennedy Street and shared about safety concerns for small business, mental health supports, and retail theft. Thank you, Ward 4 Councilmember Janeese Lewis George, for joining.

My Secure DC plan addresses these issues by:


Ward 5

Residents in Ward 5 walked through the Edgewood neighborhood and discussed a need for more cameras, after school programs, and accountability for gun violence. Thank you, Ward 5 Councilmember Zachary Parker, for joining.

My Secure DC plan addresses these issues by:


Ward 6

Residents in Ward 6 walked through the Southwest/Waterfront neighborhood and discussed a desire for robust violence interruption programs, solutions to address pervasive retail theft, and increased safety in public spaces. Thank you, Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen, for joining.  

My Secure DC plan addresses these issues by:


Ward 7

Residents in Ward 7 walked along Minnesota Ave NE by Benning Road NE and discussed accountability for repeat offenders, wrap-around services for neighbors in need of supports, and increased government transparency on the provision of goods and services. Thank you, Ward 7 Councilmember Vince Gray and At-Large Councilmember Robert White for joining.

My Secure DC plan addresses these issues by:


Ward 8

Residents in Ward 8 walked along Good Hope Road SE by Minnesota Ave SE and shared the importance of supporting infrastructure for Black businesses, strengthening our violence interruption ecosystem, and ensuring accountability for gun violence. Thank you to Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White's team for joining.

My Secure DC plan addresses these issues by:


I am deeply grateful to all the neighbors who came out and shared their experiences and ideas, and I also thank the ward Councilmembers who joined us and the teams from At-large Councilmembers Anita Bonds and Kenyan McDuffie for joining. These public safety walks were an incredible display of community strength and determination to make your voices heard, effect positive change, and increase safety across the District.

I will keep working every day to improve public safety and move forward my Secure DC plan. I always want to hear from you if you have feedback or ideas – email my team and me at judiciary@dccouncil.gov.  

Yours in service,


Violence Interruption Roundtable: On Monday, October 30th, I will hold a joint public oversight roundtable with Chairman Phil Mendelson and Councilmember Anita Bonds to discuss the District’s violence interruption efforts and ways to increase government coordination on these efforts. You may find more details here and watch the hearing in-person at the Wilson Building (now in Room 500) or on YouTube.

ACTIVE Amendment Act Hearing: On Wednesday, November 8th, I will hold a hearing on my bill, The Addressing Crime through Targeted Interventions and Violence Enforcement (“ACTIVE”) Amendment Act of 2023, which is part of my Secure DC plan focusing on changes in the law that will strengthen the US Attorney’s ability to bring successful cases for the violent crimes that are plaguing our communities right now. Anyone wishing to testify may sign-up at least 24 hours prior to the start of the hearing here or at (202) 724-8058. Witnesses will receive information on how to join before the hearing.

Witnesses who anticipate needing language interpretation, or requiring sign language interpretation, are asked to inform the Committee of the need as soon as possible but no later than five business days before the hearing during registration or by contacting Ms. Aukima Benjamin, Committee Manager to the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, at (202) 724-8058 or via e-mail at judiciary@dccouncil.gov.

Make sure to check out the Council website to stay up to date on upcoming hearings.

WTOP: Acting police chief’s nomination unanimously approved by DC Council’s public safety committee. “Before calling the committee to a vote, Ward 2 Council Member Brooke Pinto reflected on how the police department is at a 'turning point,' and comes at a 'critical time for the department and the District. As we face a significant increase in both violent crime and property crime and MPD simultaneously suffers a hiring and retention crisis. Our communities are crying out for help, for more police, more security, more opportunities and more accountability.'”

WATCH: DC News Now: Councilmember Pinto holds public safety walk. “‘[We] want to make sure that we’re inviting the public, inviting stakeholders, inviting residents and my colleagues to participate, and how to make sure that this legislation is as effective and strong as possible,’ Pinto said.”

WJLA: DC residents share growing backlash over crime during Congressmember Pinto's Ward 2 crime walk. “‘It's always been an important value of mine and my teams to make sure we are meeting the community where they are,’ Pinto told 7News. ‘We rolled out several weeks ago our Secure DC plan, which is really a comprehensive set of laws, initiatives and interventions to improve public safety in the city.’”

WJLA: DC Councilmember Pinto continues neighborhood safety walks. “‘We want to stay focused on things that we can move the ball forward on,’ said Pinto. ‘And so we’re doing walks in all 8 wards as another avenue to hear directly from residents.’”

Washington Informer: D.C. Mayor Bowser’s New Legislation Zeroes In on Loitering. “‘We need to be thoughtful about making sure people have places to go. It’s important for all of us, especially young people, to have places to recreate safely,’ Pinto said. ‘Where there are hot spots, we have to express ways to make sure law enforcement can intervene and disrupt,’ she added. ‘[It’s about] focusing on areas of illegal activity but not areas where people are looking for a spot [to spend time]. We will be exploring avenues for additional resources to get people to spaces and have a safe place to hang out.’”

WATCH: WJLA: DC Councilmember Pinto hears from Ward 8 residents on loitering concerns during crime walk. “‘I think something needs to change to give MPD more tools to be able to intervene,’ said Councilmember Brooke Pinto.”

AFRO News: D.C. awaits city council’s confirmation of acting police chief Pamela Smith. “‘This nomination comes at a crucial time for MPD in the midst of a spike in both violent crime and property crime, which coincides with a hiring and retention crisis for the department,’ said Pinto. ‘This is the third year in a row that we’ve exceeded 200 homicides in a given year, and the first time in 25 years that we reached this number by October.’”

WATCH: WJLA: Shootout at DC Ward 5 shopping center occurs just before councilmember hosts safety walk. “‘Public safety is on the minds of residents in all 8 wards in D.C., and it’s really important for me as the Chair of Judiciary and Public Safety to make sure that legislation that I'm moving forward is informed by the public,’ Pinto said.”

WUSA9: Fare jumper causes evening delay on Green Line trains, police say. “‘[The Metro Safety Amendment Act of 2023] is seeking to give teeth to what civil enforcement means. We have a city of laws.’ Pinto who chairs the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety told reporters following the public hearing. She says her proposal addresses growing concerns over crime and Metro's $750 million shortfall.”

DC News Now: Paying their ‘fare’ share: DC leaders look to crack down on Metro fare jumping. “‘We are a city of laws and those laws have to be followed. If they’re not going to be followed, then we shouldn’t have them on the books,’ Pinto said.”

Washington Post: Once again, House GOP members plan to take aim at D.C. crime. “‘I urge Congress to assist us in our goal to improve safety by supporting common sense gun control legislation, filling critical judicial vacancies in our DC Courts, increasing staffing at the U.S. attorney’s office, and allowing the District government to effectively represent the interests of our residents and visitors,' Pinto said in a statement.”

DCist. “‘It’s important to acknowledge how we got here and where we are, as we pursue the careful balancing that this bill attempts to get right,' Pinto said Wednesday. 'The council had justifiable reasons for wanting to decriminalize fare evasion, given the racial inequity and how fare evasion has been enforced. Recognizing those issues, the bill allows for only a very limited expansion of fare evasion enforcement.'"

WUSA9: Proposed DC Council bill takes aim at fare evaders. “‘This bill is seeking to give teeth to what civil enforcement means. We have a city of laws,' Pinto...told reporters following the public hearing. She says her proposal addresses growing concerns over crime and Metro's $750 million dollar shortfall. ‘The Metro Transit Police has a policy that they do not enforce fines against kids,' Pinto told WUSA9. She said the idea that this would target youth is the biggest misconception about her proposal.  

WUSA9: DC’s 911 Call Center coming under fire. “‘In recent years, significant and very troubling concerns and experiences have been raised regarding the operations of the District’s standalone call center,’ said Brooke Pinto, the councilmember who leads the committee... ‘Residents expect and should be able to expect prompt assistance from the OUC when they’re facing an emergency,’ she added. ‘In emergencies, mere seconds can be a matter of life or death.’”

AFRO News: First public safety hearing after summer recess hones in on sexual assault and incarceration. “‘Each of these bills is aimed at addressing issues that we’ve been seeing recently as part of the spike in both violent crime and property crime in the District of Columbia,’ said Brooke Pinto, chairwoman of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety. ‘The Accountability and Victim Protection Amendment Act of 2023 is the product of conversations I had with the U.S. Attorney’s Office about gaps that we’re seeing in our criminal laws that are making it difficult to respond to certain crimes and hold people accountable when they harm other community members.’”

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