Together, We Can Build a Safer DC from the Ground Up
TAKOMA – Erin Palmer today announced her Plan for Safe, Stable & Secure Communities – a comprehensive plan to make every neighborhood in DC safer and stronger by investing in basic needs, using data-driven violence prevention strategies, and ensuring the effectiveness of District public safety agencies.
“Every DC resident and every DC neighborhood deserves safety and stability” said Erin, Democrat for DC Council Chairwoman. “But too often our resources are devoted to delivering effective services to only some communities. My plan is designed to make sure every DC neighborhood has what it needs to be safe, secure, and thriving.”
Community safety is at the top of people’s minds with many residents recognizing the importance of stability and security in preventing violence. 82% of people who responded to a recent Washington Post poll support “[i]ncreasing funding to build economic opportunities in poor neighborhoods with higher crime” and 63% of people who responded support “[h]aving outreach workers try to resolve disputes between residents who might use guns” as measures to reduce crime.
Erin’s plan calls for expanding Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Strong Families, Strong Futures initiative to support more families, implementing non-police responses to mental health crises like the Denver STAR program and the Chicago CAHOOTS program, as championed by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and supporting maternal health by building on Councilmember Christina Henderson’s efforts to expand access to doulas and other maternal health services.
“Building stable communities will require leadership from the DC Council,” said Erin. “That leadership has to be grounded in consistent values that ensure effective governance and high-performing services. I am committed to a science- and data-driven approach to public safety that puts no program beyond the reach of aggressive oversight – including violence intervention programs, the police department, the failed crime lab, jobs programs and first source hiring, and our failing emergency call center.”
Meet Residents’ Basic Needs as Rights. Secure and stable communities are safe communities. Yet, every map of DC is the same. Whether we are talking about housing stability, access to healthy food, high-quality education, patient-centered healthcare, or community safety, we are seeing the results of decades of chronic disinvestment. Consistent, values-based leadership can correct for this chronic disinvestment and make us safer.
Meaningfully Invest in Violence Intervention. Gun violence in DC cost the city almost $1 billion in 2021 alone. And that’s just the financial cost, not to mention the trauma that ripples through communities. Preventing violence is paramount, and it requires meaningful investments that meet the scale of need to keep our communities safe. It also requires targeted and coordinated efforts based on data – and DC Council oversight is essential.
Demand Accountable Public Safety Agencies that Serve DC Residents. DC residents have emergency needs, too, and they have the right to have those needs met effectively and well. That means police who are accountable and in service of the community, emergency response systems that are smart and effective, and a justice system that works in pursuit of the truth, not just a headline. Strong leadership can correct for years of failures in delivery of emergency services.
Read the whole plan online here or download the PDF. Erin has also written extensively about following through on the Police Reform Commission’s recommendations, the need for changes to ensure a functioning emergency call center, and the troubled history of DC’s shuttered crime lab.