Washington D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser is insisting D.C. is one of the safest cities in the country even though three more people were murdered Tuesday.
“This city is among the safest cities anywhere in the United States,” Bowser told Fox 5. “And while we’re experiencing a spike in crime, overall our crime statistics are flat.”
Bowser’s comments came just hours before three people were killed in shooting incidents around the city, The Washington Post reports. This brings the year’s total homicide count to 97, a more than 30 percent spike over this time last year and slightly closer to 105, the number of murders the city saw in all of 2014.
One of the Tuesday murders happened on the steps of a Catholic church. Amari Jenkins, 21, was leaving the church when a man pulled up and shot him several times. Jenkins then collapsed in front of the church, NBC Washington reports.
Just hours after Jenkins died on the church steps, a woman and two children were shot in their apartment across the city in Congress Heights. The woman died.
Bowser and D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier were on hand at the scene of the triple shooting Tuesday as residents showed discontent over the officials inability to curb the recent violence.
Lanier said the main cause of increased violence is criminals’ ability to obtain illegal handguns.(VIDEO: DC’s Police Chief Accidentally Details What’s Wrong With Gun Laws)
“When people say what is driving this, it is illegal firearms in the homes and hands of the wrong people, and when children have access to firearms, bad things happen,” she told the Post.
Last Thursday, Bowser and Lanier got together to brainstorm ways to combat what Bowser called “an unacceptable spike in homicides.”
Those ideas include developing new deployment strategies, setting up new lighting and cameras in troublesome neighborhoods, and the mayor said she is even considering “legislative changes” to combat gun violence.
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