Local criminal justice expert on what is needed to address rising gun violence

Compared to the same time last year, homicides are up in DC, despite efforts to stem the violence. A criminal justice expert shares his thoughts on what is needed to fix the problem.

DC is seeing an increase in homicides, even as it continues to fund programs they hope will deter crime.

Compared to the same time last year, homicides are up 11% in the district, according to the latest figures reported by DC police. So how long will these programs work?



“If I institute something by Monday, will I see results by Friday?” asked Dr. Charles Adams, chair of the criminal justice department at Bowie State University. “What I see is ‘We don’t quite understand what’s going on, but we have to do something.'”

Adams urges residents to be patient.

“With any program or any intervention, we don’t know when it’s going to kick in,” Adams said.

“That spike in violent crime, gun violence, we saw the spike start around 2015,” he said. “That’s when many municipalities … we should have been at the table discussing the possible wave.”

In the short and long term, Adams said leaders should focus on a comprehensive approach.

“We have to look at the school system; we need to look at the economy, address parenting issues,” he said.

In 2017, DC recovered three ghost guns; but in 2021, that number has grown to more than 400, Adams said.

“The availability of shadow weapons has proven to be problematic,” but he said policing was not the solution.

“It’s not that simple. It’s not… let’s just flood the street with police because we have so much going on now, that we don’t have a clear idea about it,” a- he said, “It’s a community problem, it’s a societal problem.”

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