Dear Mayor Bowser and City Councilmembers,
Neighborhood violence in our community is a complex issue, and we know we will not eliminate it overnight. However, the need for all kids to be safe is very simple. Safety is foundational to children’s learning and development. With gun violence a daily threat in the Anacostia community, there is a basic public safety floor which is not being met. To ensure that our nation’s capital values the lives of all its children, we ask that you take the following actions over the next 30 days: - Develop and share a public safety and community engagement plan, which directly responds to the needs residents and school leaders have highlighted in recent safety walks, meetings, and other conversations. This includes, but is not limited to, the need for consistent crossing guards, speed humps and adequate street lighting, violence interrupters and competitive paying jobs for our neighbors.
- Provide students-- especially those who are most vulnerable-- with the resources they need to thrive. Commit to increasing the UPSFF base funding by 4% and the at-risk weight to 0.37. By more closely matching the funding levels in the DC Education Adequacy Study (linked), our city would better ensure that all students-- especially those with complex needs-- have the necessary resources to succeed in school and in life.
- Provide the Metropolitan Police Department 7D the resources it needs to appropriately staff and patrol Anacostia, mitigating the possibility of crime and gun violence in the area.
- Develop a clear alert system that urgently shares information between MPD, schools, childcare centers, businesses, and residents. Moving forward, we would like the clarity of what we all should expect when an incident occurs, as well as what communication looks like during and after an incident.
- Increase active engagement from MPD during high student traffic hours 7:00am-10:30am and 1:30pm-4:45pm.
- Ensure frequent foot patrol within five blocks of all schools.
- Post police officers in front of schools during students’ arrival and dismissal.