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DC Mayor Bowser declares public emergency over 'youth violence' after nearly 100 minors are shot in just nine months
Photographer: Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

DC Mayor Bowser declares public emergency over 'youth violence' after nearly 100 minors are shot in just nine months

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a public emergency in an attempt to address skyrocketing incidents of youth crime and an ongoing opioid problem in the capital city.

In a recent press release, Bowser released statistics related to the shocking increases in crime among children, including 458 juvenile arrests for robbery in the first nine months of 2023, a 10% increase from all of 2022.

Other crimes included homicide, assault with a dangerous weapon, and carjacking. A third (151) of all carjackings in the city were committed by children.

Also in the first nine months of 2023, 97 juveniles were shot, and 15 of those were killed, another near-10% increase from the same period of 2022.

The mayor's message also noted that in the last five weeks leading up to the emergency declaration, five youths who were already being electronically monitored were killed.

Bowser announced that the city would increase placements in shelter homes, group homes, and supervised facilities. This includes psychiatric programs as well.

In addition, the city planned to increase substance abuse and trauma counseling for youth.

For crime prevention, the mayor signed emergency legislation that "established a rebuttable presumption that pre-hearing detention is necessary where the D.C. Superior Court determines there is a substantial probability that a youth committed certain violent crimes." This is aimed at lowering repeat offenses.

The mayor's office also explained that overdoses of opioids have more than doubled in the last year, from 213 to 461.

Fentanyl was linked to 96% of the opioid-related overdoses in 2022. For 2023, that number increased to 98%, meaning nearly all opioid deaths were due to fentanyl and its "analogs."

To address the issue, the mayor's office insisted an increase in data-sharing is the solution. Bowser announced "enhanced and expedited data sharing" in order to provide a "complete picture of opioid-related fatal and suspected non-fatal overdoses."

This, the mayor claimed, would allow for the deployment of "outreach teams" who would go to "overdose hotspots" in order to engage in "harm reduction services and supports."

The provided data noted that the opioid deaths are predominantly among black men and residents of Wards 5, 7, and 8.

In addition, the mayor claimed that the health crisis raised "concerns" about "health equity."

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