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HomeNewsFear Grips Washington DC Amid Violent Crime Surge With Kids Caught Up

Fear Grips Washington DC Amid Violent Crime Surge With Kids Caught Up

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Fear Grips Washington DC Amid Violent Crime Surge With Kids Caught Up
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The streets of Washington, DC, are facing a sort of emergency with the rate of juvenile crime in the city. In fact, it got so bad that the district’s mayor declared a juvenile crime emergency sometime last year. Many homeless kids are not attending school and are committing crimes to stay afloat. 

The crime rate is up by a staggering 39%, showing that there is a lot of cause for alarm. The major crimes are carjacking and robbery, which have become quite rampant. The average age of those arrested for carjacking was 15 years in 2023. 

Therefore, this problem is only escalating. As the children do not have funds to live in proper homes or attend schools, they turn to a life of crime. 

However, they do not understand the reality of their crimes. Because of their young ages, they usually get a slap on the wrist for their offenses. Therefore, they continue to rob people and take their cars, using guns in half of the cases.  

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Many people blamed city officials for this widespread violence. As the crime rate increased, one would expect that the rate of arrests and prosecutions would also be higher. However, this is not the case because they have been very lenient with them. 

Therefore, city leaders have no choice but to implement tough measures to address the problem. DC’s city council introduced a wide-ranging anti-crime bill early in February to this effect. This includes extending pretrial detention for children accused of various crimes.

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It also expanded the definition of carjacking, making it a serious offense. This is particularly important as two victims died last year from carjacking. Furthermore, the DC police will open a new multiagency real-time crime center in the coming weeks.

These measures hope to curb the crime rate in the city. A 15-year-old boy, whom we would refer to as Eddie to protect his identity, spoke to CNN on this issue. He explained that many of these kids do not understand the impact of these crimes. 

“All they think they’re doing is getting the car and driving the car around,” he said. “They don’t see the impact they do to other people (who) get hurt. You might scare people when you jack somebody for their car.”

Marcelles Queen, a man who lives in DC, has been mentoring the teens since a friend of theirs was shot and killed last year. Therefore, he encouraged some kids to attend the hearing of Malcolm, a 17-year-old boy from the streets. He attempted robbery and is being charged with the crime. 

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ALSO READ: Washington CVS Store Closes After Thieves Ransacked It for Months, Leaving Shelves Empty

Malcolm is friends with the boys who attended his hearing. Seeing their friend on the stand gave them a sort of reality check. One of the boys, who we call Sam to protect his identity, was quite uncomfortable. 

“I don’t want to be here,” Sam says. “This is real.” This was Queen’s motive for taking the boys to the hearing. “I want (them) to understand that the playing is over, that they’re trying to hold you accountable,” he said. 

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