DC Attorney General Says Prosecution Isn’t the Answer to Crime Wave

(Alex Wong/Getty Images)
February 1, 2024

The Washington, D.C., attorney general said Tuesday that the district can not prosecute its way out of the crime wave plaguing it.

"We as a city and community need to be much more focused on prevention and surrounding young people and their families with resources if we want to be safer in the long run," Attorney General Brian Schwalb (D.) said, according to Fox 5. "We cannot prosecute and arrest our way out of it."

Schwalb's comments came at a panel discussion to address the rise in juvenile crimes, specifically carjackings, during the present crime surge.

While there was less crime in January 2024 compared with January 2023, the district saw a massive crime wave in 2023 compared with the previous year. Motor vehicle theft increased by 82 percent and homicides by 35 percent. By contrast, other large cities saw a drop in homicides last year.

The panel came a day after a suspect allegedly shot a former Trump administration official as part of a spree of carjackings in both D.C. and Maryland, which left the official in critical condition and another victim dead.

Last week, the Department of Justice announced a federal initiative to fight crime in D.C. Matthew Graves, the U.S. attorney for D.C., has attributed the surge in violence to lenient criminal justice laws that result in younger perpetrators receiving lighter sentences.