23 Feb, 2024
1 min read

US Attorney’s Office to get more resources to combat violent crime in DC

WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — The US Justice Department on Friday announced it is sending more resources to the US Attorney’s office for DC to help combat last year’s steep rise in violent crime.

There were significant spikes in crimes committed by juveniles in 2023 with violent acts like carjackings and robberies, according to Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) statistics.

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“You know, seeing 12, 13, 14, 15 year olds committing these crimes, 16 and 17 year olds that we prosecute … It’s heartbreaking to me,” Matthew Graves, the US attorney for DC, told DC News Now.

Graves said about 20 analysts and prosecutors have already joined the US attorney’s office to better respond to rising crime trends with data analytics, deeper investigations and increased prosecutions.

He said people in the District deserve to feel safe and that while it pains him to prosecute young people, they are committing serious crimes that must be punished.

“I want the kids to hear … if people are telling you that there are no consequences, that you won’t be caught, they’re lying to you,” Graves said. “You will be caught.”

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Last year, violent crime in the nation’s capital was up 39% from the previous year, according to MPD statistics. Businesses have been the targets of robberies from troubled neighborhoods to wealthy ones like at The Wharf.

“We’ve been hit twice,” said Christopher Pennachio, the manager of DCity Smokehouse in Southeast DC. “I want to come to work, feel safe and then make it home at the end of the day, like anybody else would.”

Pennachio said his barbeque restaurant now has an armed guard. The last time the place

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West Side Legal Aid Organization Gets $200,000 To Offer More Free Services Across Chicago

NORTH LAWNDALE — One of the city’s only community-based legal aid clinics is getting federal funding to expand its free holistic legal services that give people support rebuilding their lives after being accused of crimes.

Lawndale Christian Legal Center, 1530 S. Hamlin Ave., received a $200,000 earmark in the federal budget. US Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and organization leaders announced the funding Monday.

The center has provided legal and social services for thousands of Chicago youths in the criminal justice system since its founding in 2010.

The organization provides free criminal defense, workforce development services and restorative justice opportunities to young people under 25 facing criminal charges. Approximately 20 percent of the organization’s $5 million budget goes to providing holistic legal representation; the rest goes to social services to help keep young people out of the criminal justice system, leaders say.

RELATED: Lawndale Christian Legal Center Receives National Recognition For Criminal Justice Work On West Side

Durbin made the trip to Lawndale Monday to announce the funding, praising the organization’s work to break the long cycle of gun violence and incarceration in communities of color. He said that 89 percent of legal center participants were not rearrested, 73 percent of school-aged clients were back in the classroom and 69 percent of non-school-aged participants were working or in a vocational program.

“That’s why I brought this federal money back home here,” Durbin said. “I believe if we’re truly going to end violence in Chicago or in America, it has to go beyond the courtroom. It has to go into legal centers like this, where people sit down and work with people who’ve had a pretty miserable life until this point, to give them another outlook on life and give them another chance.”

Credits: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
The Lawndale Christian Legal
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