The Wash
Metro police department car sits outside Jackson Reed High School in Tenleytown
Citizen groups ask for more police presence in Georgetown. Nicole Wiley/The Wash

Crime is rising in Georgetown and civic groups want the District to act

The Metropolitan Police Department reports that crime in the neighborhood is up 27%. That increase is mainly due to an increase in robbery, theft, and vehicle theft

Crime is on the rise in Georgetown, and citizen and business groups in the neighborhood want the city to address the problem. 

Crime rose in the neighborhood by 27% so far this year, shooting up to 762 instances this year, up from 598 over the same period in 2022, according to the Metropolitan Police Department’s website.

The 27% uptick in crime in Georgetown was due to robbery, theft, and motor vehicle theft, according to MPD data.

The 27% uptick in crime in Georgetown was due to robbery, theft and motor vehicle theft, according to MPD data.

The Citizens Association of Georgetown, among others, testified before the D.C Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety Nov. 8 to support legislation proposed by Councilwoman Brooke Pinto, the ‘Addressing Crime through Targeted Interventions and Violence Enforcement’ (ACTIVE) Amendment Act of 2023. 

Pinto’s bill would require individuals on probation, supervised release, or parole after a gun offense conviction to submit to a search when they are in a public place. In addition, it would create a task force to develop recommendations for increasing the use of pre-arrest diversion and would increase the maximum penalty for those firing a large number of bullets at a time. 

Pinto’s bill would require that sentences for possession of extremely dangerous weapons be stacked on top of baseline penalties and create a new offense of unlawful discarding of firearms and ammunition. The measure would amend the definition of carjacking to include situations where the victim is not in or immediately next to their vehicle. 

“My comprehensive package of legislative initiatives is a compilation of common-sense, targeted interventions that will urgently and practically improve safety for DC residents,” Pinto said in a press release.

“The legislation fundamentally cracks down on people who have firearm offenses and adjust the maximum penalties for engagement with a firearm,” said Mark Martinkov, the Citizens Association of Georgetown public safety co-chair.

However, Ryan Downer, legal director for the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, opposes the bill, telling the committee on Nov. 7  that the increase in incarceration likely to stem from the bill would expose more D.C. citizens to “D.C. jails’ unsafe conditions.”

“The retrograde solutions proposed in this legislation are ineffective and will result in further harm to the district’s black and brown communities,” Downer testified.

He emphasized that the District “cannot incarcerate its way out of this crisis.”

Pinto said that the committee was focused on the plight of D.C. jail through “oversight and additional pieces of legislation” that are a part of the larger Secure D.C. agenda. 

The Secure D.C. Plan is a package of bills and initiatives aimed at increasing accountability with an emphasis on violent crimes and gun offenses, according to a press release from Pinto’s office.

Mark Martinkov from Citizens Association of Georgetown testified before the D.C Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety. Credits – DC Council Website

“The council members don’t necessarily have a view into what’s going on in each and every neighborhood,” said Martinkov. “These hearings are a critical component of how a democracy operates in having an opportunity for people to come and discuss the things that they’re seeing.”

“The more citizens and business groups, in both residential and business communities, communicate with their elected representatives on the seriousness of their concerns, the better it is for everybody,” said Joe Sternlieb, CEO of the Georgetown Business Improvement District. 

The Georgetown Business Improvement District has been actively advocating for police coverage in the neighborhood and hopes to apply for grants for an initiative that could bring private security networks together.

Crime in the city rose by 27% this year and shot up from 31,239 instances to date compared to 24,553 over the same period in 2022, MPD data said. Theft contributed greatly to the overall spike, according to MPD.

Crime in the city rose by 27% this year and shot up from 31,239 instances to date compared to 24,553 over the same period in 2022, MPD data said.

“Statistically Georgetown is still the safest neighborhood in the city,” said Sternlieb. “But unless everybody feels safe all the time, then it’s not as safe as it needs to be.”

Martinkov emphasized the need for more police presence in the neighborhood. 

The number of police officers in the city has fallen from 4,000 sworn police officers to approximately 3,300 since 2020, according to a release from Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office.

On April 4th, 2022, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a $30 million investment to help the city get back on the track to 4,000 police officers. 

“We can educate people, we can set up cameras, but if you really want to stop crime, you just have to have more police presence,” said Martinkov.

Martinkov said that there were up to six police officers stationed in Georgetown at any given point in 2020.

“Because of the staffing shortage, they’ve had to relocate officers to those areas where there’s the most amount of crime,” said Martinkov. “So we’re now stuck with one or two, and oftentimes just one officer in all of Georgetown.”

The Citizens’ Association of Georgetown collaborates with the MPD to create programs and initiatives that facilitate the education of residents about public safety. 

“There’s a new effort for MPD where they have QR codes that police officers can scan when they’re meeting with businesses,” said Martinkov.

“Our relationship with MPD has always been really positive in Georgetown,” said Daniel Chao, a commissioner with Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E. “I am very grateful that we have the type of bond and the support on both sides, from community to law enforcement and vice versa.”

Chao said that the commission plans to work with the District Council and MPD to make sure funds are provided to properly execute the Secure D.C. Plan. The ANC plans on speaking with local and federal entities that could help facilitate better infrastructures for policing.

“We are very eager to partner with more law enforcement, and introduce them to our neighbors to make our communities safer,” said Chao.

He said the Secure D.C. Plan was not only for enforcement but also about building a “robust rehabilitation component.”

“We all believe that everyone has the right to succeed and if they want to change for the better, we all are there for them to help people find a track to better their lives,” Chao said. 

Chao said that the Secure D.C. recognizes the need for rehabilitation and the ANC supports Pinto’s initiative in doing so.

Mirika Rayaprolu

Before becoming a graduate journalism student at American University, I was a freelance reporter and a political researcher for Young People for Politics in Mumbai, India. Some of my published work includes reports on the Bombay dock explosion of 1944, a study on female radicalisations by ISIS in the U.K. and an analysis of online fan clubs of the Columbine High School shooters. My video production work includes Bombay Groove, a documentary on Mumbai’s underground hip-hop scene. My interests lie in covering reproductive freedom, immigration and workers’ rights. I am originally from Mumbai, moved to Dallas in 2022 and currently reside in Washington, D.C.


  • What are you all complaining about? This is what one party rule looks like. No other city in the nation votes more reliably Democrat than DC – even more so than San Francisco (Biden got 86% of SF’s vote, while DC gave him 93%). You voted for this, so clearly you want more of it, and that’s exactly what you’re going to get until you finally admit that your subjective world view bares no semblance to the empirical, objective one you live in. Of course you will never do that, because to do so is to admit your own stupidity, so it will just get worse and worse and worse.

    No, no more of this, “rules for thee, none for me” nonsense – it’s time for you idiots in Ward 3 to live those values you love to declare with those silly signs you stick in your yards and windows. “In this house we believe…” LOL!

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