At around 11 p.m. on Monday, April 11, 15-year-old Malachi Jackson was shot and killed while going for a jog in Columbia Heights, making him the youngest D.C. homicide victim this year.
There were a reported 226 homicides in Washington D.C. in 2021, the highest count the area has seen in 18 years, when the number last exceeded 200 homicides in 2003.
By April 19, 2021, there were 54 homicides in D.C. – as of April 19 of this year, there have only been 52 homicides. The number of homicides in Washington D.C. has increased each year since 2017.
Total violent crime is on the rise in 2022. By April 19, 2021, all violent crime in Washington D.C. was at 961 cases. By April 19 of this year, violent crime had already surpassed that at 1,230 cases, an almost 28 percent increase.
D.C. also experienced an estimated 3 percent increase in total violent crime from 2020 to 2021, with the MPD reporting 4,117 violent crimes last year. There was an additional increase in assaults with a dangerous weapon, including firearms.
Jackson’s family hopes their loss sends a message to government officials that change must be made. In addition to a public memorial service for Malachi on April 23, the family would like to host a roundtable with activists to discuss crime in D.C, according to grandmother Alvoncia Jackson.
“I want Mayor Bowser to know that we are here, we’re not going anywhere. We’re taking a stand. This has to stop,” Jackson said. “There are innocent kids being killed on her streets. What is she going to do about it? We need her to come and speak.”
Jackson is right about the loss of innocent life on the streets of D.C.
In early March, Washington D.C. experienced a high profile incident of violent crime when there were five shootings within the span of a week and a half in D.C. and New York. To investigate this string of crimes, the MPD teamed up with the New York Police Department (NYPD) and the Washington Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Police took Gerald Brevard III, 30, into custody on March 15, for allegedly shooting three people in D.C. and two in New York and it’s believed that he had been targeting homeless individuals.
In a joint press conference, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and New York Mayor Eric Adams cautioned their cities’ homeless populations to take shelter in order to be safe.
“Our shelters have space, they are safe and we welcome you to stay in a shelter while we work on permanent housing for you,” Bowser said.
Metropolitan police have also reported more cases of assault with a dangerous weapon in 2022. Mayor Bowser, along with MPD Chief Robert Conte III, has made it clear to residents that their goal is to protect D.C. residents and get guns off the streets.
“I want you to know that we will curb the number of guns in our community; arrest people using guns in our community; and work with all our partners to make sure we are preventing crime before it happens,” she said in a message to residents.
The number of firearms recovered by metropolitan police has increased each year since 2018. Though data for recovered firearms in 2022 is not yet available, Mayor Bowser outlined how the MPD plans on using more “intelligence-based” policing strategies, including “more focused deployment of MPD in areas with elevated gun activity.”
“We are throwing every resource at the rise in violent crime in DC, and we will keep pushing on all fronts until we see positive results,” Bowser said.