Public Safety Crime Control, Policing
March 21st, 2024 2 Minute Read Public Filings by Rafael A. Mangual

Testimony Before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on House Administration

Rafael A. Mangual testified in a hearing entitled Safety on Capitol Hill: DC Crime’s Impact on Congressional Operations and Visitors.

Watch the full testimony here.

Chairman Steil, Ranking Member Morelle, and all other members of this distinguished body, I’d like to begin by thanking you for the opportunity to offer remarks on an important topic.

To put it bluntly, our nation’s capital is very much in the midst of a crime and disorder crisis. In 2023, a year in which the latest FBI estimates suggest the nation saw homicides decline 13% and violent crime decline nearly 6%, Washington D.C. saw homicides spike 35% and violent crime increase 39%. For historical context, D.C.’s 2023 homicide total was the highest it’s been in 26 years. Robberies and car thefts in the District were up a whopping 67% and 82%, respectively in 2023, while carjackings nearly doubled, even after half a decade of year-over-year increases. These numbers are even more concerning than they might seem at first glance, because robberies, carjackings, and assaults are occurring at such high numbers despite the fact that D.C. has, like other cities, seen a marked shift in what criminologists call “Routine Activities.” In short, foot traffic, in-office work, and public transit ridership in D.C. are all down significantly, which has reduced the number of opportunities for offenses to take place (because there are fewer targets in public spaces). In other words, what the official crime statistics don’t capture is the increase in the rate at which opportunities for crime are actually converted into victimizations.

Click here to read the full testimony.

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Rafael Mangual is the Nick Ohnell Fellow and head of research for the Policing and Public Safety Initiative at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal. He is also the author of Criminal (In)Justice: What the Push for Decarceration and Depolicing Gets Wrong and Who It Hurts Most

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