Washington, D.C. has launched a series of anti-crime initiatives in response to a significant increase in carjackings, auto thefts, and other crimes. The Metropolitan Police Department and Mayor Muriel Bowser’s government have implemented measures to address the rising crime rates, including the distribution of auto tracking devices and dashboard cameras.
Residents, such as Jeff Pena and his father Raul Pena, have lined up to receive auto tracking devices, specifically Apple AirTags, to protect their vehicles. The trackers are being distributed in designated auto theft hot zones. Meanwhile, Faenita Dilworth and other rideshare drivers have been provided with free dashboard cameras to enhance their safety while on the job.
The city has witnessed a surge in violent crimes, with homicides up by 34% compared to the same period last year. Car thefts have increased by 98%, and carjackings have more than doubled, rising by 104%. Notable victims of carjackings include a Texas congressman and a diplomat from the United Arab Emirates.
The Department of Nightlife and Culture, in collaboration with the Department of For-Hire Vehicles, has partnered with food delivery service DoorDash to fund the distribution of dashboard cameras. The initiative aims to deter crime by capturing footage that can aid in police investigations and prosecutions.
While some residents, like Jessica Gray, have expressed concerns about response times and the potential damage to stolen vehicles, Police Sgt. Anthony Walsh has assured the public that the tracker information will assist investigators in tracing the route of car thieves. This information, along with security camera footage, can be used to build strong cases against criminals.
Sgt. Walsh also addressed concerns about privacy, clarifying that residents themselves would be responsible for tracking their vehicles using the AirTag devices. They can choose to share this information with the police voluntarily to aid in investigations.
The anti-crime initiatives in Washington, D.C. aim to combat the ongoing crime crisis and improve public safety in the city.