In light of the recent increase in carjackings in her city, one of which led on Tuesday to the death of Uber Eats driver Mohammed, Anwar, Washington DC Mayor Murial Bowser has a message for residents on how to avoid a similar fate.
Bowser's five point plan illustrates five points that people can do to prevent becoming a victim of carjacking.
These "Five tips on preventing auto thefts" are:
- Park in a safe spot
- Lock your car
- Keep track of your keys
- Never leave your engine running
- Stay alert
Just these simple steps that pretty much all drivers already take to ensure their own safety as well as to secure their car, and everyone should be safe, according to Bowser. These tips come from the DC Metropolitan Police Department, and were publicized by the mayor.
Carjackings in the nation's capital are up a reported 350 percent in 2021. In 2020, carjackings were up almost 150 percent compared to data from 2019. The Metropolitan Police Department has reported that teens are often the suspects in these crimes, and some of them are repeat offenders.
Bowser later commented on the timing of the tweet. She said that the post was "prescheduled" and "should not detract from the tragic death of Mohammed Anwar."
Bowser had asked for security to be ramped up prior to the inauguration of President Joe Biden on January 20. "I'm requesting from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that they take additional steps," Bowser said, "including expanding the length of the time that this national special security event is in place."
"Further, I am asking that they extend the perimeter of their coverage area for this national security special event, which is the inauguration, to include the Capitol," she continued.
Bowser also sent then-President Trump a letter ahead of the inauguration requesting an emergency declaration for the city in advance to allow for further preemptive coordination with federal law enforcement.
In early February, in light of the drastic crime increases, most notably carjackings, DC formed a commission to try to deal with it.
"Washington DC, along with other major cities across the nation, has experienced a significant increase in carjackings over the last year," said MPD chief Robert Contee.
"Motor vehicle thefts across the district have also increased 51 percent over the same time period. Currently, only a little over a month into 2021, we are already seeing increases in these offenses across our city."
This after Washington, DC cut the police budget for 2021 by $14 million. The cuts themselves were uneven, with the bulk of the cuts being in the force's investigative unit while the police chief's office budget increased by $1.7 million.
"On January 25, 2021, I created and dedicated a task force to address the rise in car jackings, stolen autos, and robberies within the district," Contee said. "This task force consists of teams of detectives specializing in robberies and violent crimes that will focus on all car jacking cases in the district, and hold those responsible for committing these crimes accountable."
David Do, director of the Department of For-Hire Vehicles, blamed the rise in food and other product deliveries for the rise in car thefts. "What we've seen during this public health emergency is that we're moving from transporting people to transporting parcels, and goods, and food deliveries, and that's why we see a rise in for-hire vehicle thefts." Director Do further told DC residents to avoid putting up a fight against car jackers.
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