DC declares gun violence public health emergency

Mayor Muriel Bowser formally declared gun violence a public health crisis in Washington, D.C., Feb. 17 and announced a $15 million investment to address the issue, reports The Washington Post.

Ms. Bowser said the city will use this initial investment to create a gun violence prevention emergency operations center staffed by D.C. government leaders specializing in job training, mental health counseling and housing, among other services.

Linda Harllee Harper, senior deputy director of the district's Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, will serve as director of the emergency operations center.

The center will focus on people most at risk of becoming a victim or perpetrator of gun violence and create individualized support plans surrounding housing stability, career and workplace readiness, mental healthcare and academic support.

Washington, D.C., reported 198 homicides in 2020, most of which involved guns. This figure marks a 19 percent increase from 2019 and the highest annual total recorded since 2004. Overall, 922 people were shot in the city last year, one-third more than in 2019, according to the Post.

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