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Combating Violent Crime


Combating Violent Crime 

The purpose of this workgroup is to evaluate and enhance the District of Columbia’s strategic and systemic efforts to combat violent crimes, with a specific emphasis on gun crimes.  One of the priority areas for the workgroup is improve the District’s submissions to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), Interstate Identification Index (III) and the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).  This workgroup consists of the relevant local and federal partners with efforts focusing on process level and legislative enhancements aimed at improving reporting to all three of the aforementioned entities.


 Leslie Parsons, Assistant Chief of Police, Metropolitan Police Department 



Purpose: To serve as a forum for justice system agencies in the District to monitor the justice system involvement and case processing of individuals who are at high-risk of engaging in gun violence. 


 Leslie Parsons, Assistant Chief of Police, Metropolitan Police Department 



Overview: Gun Violence Reduction Efforts in the District

Since late 2018, CJCC members identified reducing shootings as a priority, and since that time, CJCC has provided members with analysis and access to subject matter experts to help inform the District’s approach to reducing gun violence.

CJCC involved Thomas Abt, author of “Bleeding Out: The Devastating Consequences of Urban Gun Violence – a Bold New Plan for Peace in the Streets,” to present an evidence-based strategic framework for gun violence reduction that included Prevention, Intervention and Enforcement, as well as People, Places, and Behaviors.  Mr. Abt identified Group Violence Reduction as the strategy that had the greatest impact on reducing gun violence based on multiple studies. The strategy entails:

  • Identifying persons at highest risk of being involved in gun violence (e.g., based on problem analysis, shooting reviews)
  • Implementing law enforcement response for those who become actual shooters
  • Providing services to those who want to change
  • Communicating to these individuals that they are at high risk (i.e., call-ins and custom notifications that involve law enforcement, community members, street outreach workers and service providers)

Thomas Abt provided a detailed description of the elements of the necessary problem analysis and how the results can be used to inform gun violence reduction strategies.

In early 2020, David Muhammad of the (NICJR) and Reygan Cunningham presented information during the Principals’ meeting on Oakland’s problem analysis and subsequent implementation of Oakland Ceasefire, which is a Focused Deterrence/Group Violence Reduction Strategy. Ultimately, CJCC contracted for and received a "Gun Violence Problem Analysis Summary Report." 

In 2021, in response to rising homicide concerns, CJCC received partner consensus on engaging with the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (NICJR) to conduct a Gun Violence Problem Analysis to analyze the situation and seek appropriate solutions. The report was delivered in early 2022, and identified the major drivers of violent gun crime in the District of Columbia. Key findings from the analysis are described below: 


Key Demographics 

The report identified key demographic characteristics of victims and suspects of homicides and shootings. The analysis showed that over 80% of both victims and suspects were Black and male. Sixty-six percent of homicide victims/suspects and 64% of nonfatal shooting victim/suspects were between the ages of 18-34, with a mean age of 29.5 and 29.8, respectively. Eighty-six percent had criminal justice system involvement. 

Incident Analysis 

This section looked at homicide and shooting incidents from January 2019 – December 2020. The analysis determined that most incidents occur as a result of a personal dispute between individuals who are known to one another. Many disputes involved local "group" or "crew" members who were motivated by local disagreements, personal slights, or revenge. Group members were also involved in a significant share of other crimes that result in homicides like drug-related disputes (37.5%) and robberies (37.0%). 

High Risk Groups and Networks 

This section of the report identified a number of “groups” or “crews” within the District. For security purposes, the true identities of the groups were not published in a public forum. In homicide events, between 31-33% of victims and 50-57 % of identified suspects were group-involved. In nonfatal shooting events, between 11-38 % of victims and 15-60 % of identified suspects were group-involved. 


The report suggested that the District develop a Strategic Plan to address Districtwide gun violence. 


Gun Violence Reduction Strategic Plan 

Later that spring, NICJR also provided a Gun Violence Reduction Strategic Plan, outlining next steps, which CJCC shared with partners and the public.