OAN Abril Elfi
1:02 PM – Wednesday, July 12, 2023
The D.C. Council has approved emergency legislation to address the District’s ongoing issues with violent crime.
On Tuesday, Democrat Council member Brooke Pinto introduced a bill that was approved in a 12-1 vote. Data from the D.C. police has showed that violent crime has increased by 33%, and as of July 10th there have reportedly been 129 fatalities.
The crime bill grants judges the authority to hold either adults or minors that have been accused of violent crimes while they await trial. Additionally, it will make discharging a gun a felony punishable by up to five years in jail.
“We are in a state of emergency right now,” Pinto told reporters on Monday ahead of the vote. “And like in any emergency, we have to act like it and we have to act urgently as a government to address the problem that we’re seeing.”
“When we have members of our community being shot and killed at rates that we haven’t seen for 20 years, that’s an emergency. Period,” Pinto continued. “That was an emergency several months ago. That’s an emergency today.”
The Office of Unified Communications (OUC), which manages the city’s 911 call center, was the subject of Pinto’s emergency bill, which was approved overwhelmingly.
This year at the center, there have been a few success stories, replete with compliments for the call takers and thanks from the people they have assisted.
However, D.C.’s 911 system has occasionally misdirected assistance in fatal situations like the April automobile incident that killed three people in the Anacostia River. Occasionally, calls are not answered.
On Tuesday, the OUC provided the following statement to WUSA9:
“The Office of Unified Communications (OUC) is committed to transparency about how we critically evaluate performance to understand root causes, integrate best practices, and quickly implement changes to provide equitable access to 311 and 911 services for every resident of the District of Columbia. When a caller dials 911 in Washington, DC, they are either met with a live person ready to take their call or a message in multiple languages advising them to stay on the line. All calls where a caller stays in the queue as prompted are answered in the order they are received into our 911 system. If you are waiting in queue, never hang up if you call 911 – stay on the line.”
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