Muriel Bowser reviews homicide figures at a meeting last week

After violence that left three people dead and pushed the District’s homicide rate well past a 30 percent increase over last year, Muriel Bowser and the Metropolitan Police Department are offering new rewards for tipsters.

“We’ll step up to the plate,” MPD Chief Cathy Lanier said. “We’ll add to the money.”

Tips that lead to the seizures of illegal guns will now earn $2,500, up from $1,000. Tips about guns used in shootings, meanwhile, will earn $10,000. That’s in addition to a $25,000 reward offered for successful tips about murders.

The new rewards come after yesterday’s murders, which left Bowser urging anti-violence to young people in what she called one of the saddest moments of her life. But police are still struggling to respond to the causes behind the increased homicides, which Lanier says range from disputes over rock-throwing to robberies of gambling winnings.

Lanier disputed claims from the police union that a decision earlier this year to eliminate citywide vice squads has helped drive crime this summer. If anything, Lanier said, shifting police has made gun-toting drug dealers overconfident, making them easier to catch with their weapons.

“There’s nothing that police officers hate more than change,” Lanier said.

Bowser announced the increased rewards at a press conference in Shaw’s Kennedy Recreation Center, near the sites of recent summer shootings.

“We want to send the clear message that Shaw belongs to us,” Bowser said.

Along with the rewards for tipsters, Bowser said her administration is considering creating some form of incentives for property owners to install higher-quality cameras that could help police catch perpetrators.

But Shaw residents at the press conference complained about a slow response from the city to violence in the neighborhood, including a lag on installing security cameras at the rec center itself.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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