The violent crime rate in Washington, D.C., is up 13 percent since the Occupy D.C. protest began this fall as police officers have been pulled out of local neighborhoods and reassigned to the protest.
The chairman of the local police union pinned the blame on the city’s redistribution of resources, noting that on some shifts between two and 18 neighborhood patrol officers have relocated to Occupy D.C. Those protesters are primarily based in McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza, two downtown locations near the White House.
Fraternal Order of Police Chairman Kristopher Baumann outlined the crime statistics in a Dec. 28 letter to Mayor Vincent Gray. Baumann objected to comments Gray made during a recent television interview when asked about Occupy D.C. Gray has not yet responded to the letter.
The full text of the letter is below, including a number of attachments. Here’s the relevant portion about the crime rate increase:
As you are aware, on the date of your interview violent crime in the District was up by 13 percent and total crime was up by 10 percent since Occupy D.C. began on October 1, 2011, compared to the same time period the year before, according to the Metropolitan Police Department (Attachment 1). In addition, the increase in violent crime and all crime has accelerated as Occupy D.C. has continued. One the date of your interview, violent crime over the past 30 days had increased by a stunning 17 percent and overall crime was up by 14 percent (Attachment 2). These numbers are year to date comparisons, so they account for the holiday spike in crime — this is a dramatic increase on top of the holiday spike. (I would note that the problem continues to worsen; as of December 26, 2011, violent crime over the past 30 days was up 21 percent and overall crime was up 18 percent, see Attachment 3.)
Baumann blamed Gray for cutting hundreds of police officers, leaving the force ill-equipped to handle the protest and maintain neighborhood patrols.
“In normal times, the loss of even one officer can have an impact on neighborhood policing,” Baumann wrote. “Losing 2 or 3 officers per shift in a district is devastating, because our numbers are so low that some districts are down to only 3 officers per shift.”
In an interview with FOX 5 in D.C., Baumann complained of an “unfunded federal mandate” to monitor the Occupy D.C. protests. But even if the federal government were to fund more police for D.C., research by Heritage’s David Muhlhausen determined programs such as Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) had little to no effect on crime rates.