DC spends over $270,000 on BLM paint job as violent crime skyrockets

Washington taxpayers are paying $270,000 to paint “Black Lives Matter Plaza”, as violent crimes in the district have increased by 40% in the last year.

The district implemented budget cuts of millions to the Metropolitan Police Department in recent years, and crime has skyrocketed.

Zack Smith is a crime and Justice expert at the Heritage Foundation. He told the Washington Examiner that the statement was insulting from multiple angles. If the city council and mayor’s office were serious about fighting violent crime, they would invest more money in public safety, especially by putting more officers on the streets.

He said that the city seems to be prioritizing “performative gestures” that don’t really have any impact on fighting violent crime. It also sends a “message of tolerance for violent crime in the city.”

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According to the data released on Monday, a large part of the 40 percent increase in violent crimes is due to the 34 percent increase in Washington homicides over the last year. The number of robberies increased by 68% during the same period.

Carjackings have increased 93% since last year, and thousands of new incidents have occurred.

Smith stated that “it’s not a secret who is disproportionately affected by violent crime in Washington, D.C., it’s primarily young black men.” “When you see an increase in shootings, or homicides, it means more young black men will be victims of these crimes.

These crimes occur at a time when the MPD has been forced to make budget cuts of millions since the 2020 riots sparked by George Floyd’s murder, and officers are leaving the force in large numbers. Between 2018 and 2021, the department lost an average of 331 officers per year. It has approximately 400 fewer officers today than three years ago.

The District of Columbia Council approved a budget of $526.1 millions for the police department in 2023. This is a 1.7% reduction from the previous year, but almost $100 million less than the 2020 budget. The fiscal 2023 proposal made millions of cuts to the Criminal Investigations Division and Narcotics and Special Investigations.

Mayor Muriel BOWSER, who commissioned the original street art in 2020 and commissioned it again in 2021, has promised to spend $4.8M to “transform Black Lives Matter Plaza” with an extra $3M to follow. A recent public records request by Judicial Watch revealed that $271,231 had been spent on materials and labour for the repainting of the letters.

The BLM movement has made it a priority to “defund” the police, which is what the district did as a result of the rampant crime.

Smith stated that “this entire movement has unfortunately been built around two false stories: that our criminal justice system was systemically racist and that our country had a mass-incarceration issue, where essentially, too many black men were being locked up. Neither of these are true.” “City leaders across the country, especially in the District of Columbia, have adopted these very problematic ideologies and adopted policies based upon them.”