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Alexandria Mayor says city needs to combat police attrition after recent shootings

 

Saturday afternoon shooting in Braddock (photo via Alexandria Police Department)

After another pair of shootings last week, one that resulted in a death and one in a life-threatening injury, Mayor Justin Wilson said the multi-pronged response includes more police officers in Alexandria.

In his monthly newsletter, Wilson said the uptick in violence in Alexandria is disturbing.

“This spate of violence is a continuation of a disturbing uptick in violent crime that has been plaguing our City and our region,” Wilson wrote.

Last year, Part 1 crimes — the most serious crimes like homicides, rape, robbery and more — increased by 4.7%, primarily driven by upticks in robberies, larcenies and auto theft.

According to Wilson:

So far in 2023, our Part 1 crime trends are deeply concerning:

  • Robberies are up 49%
  • Burglaries are up 17%
  • Stolen automobiles are up 69%
  • Larcenies are up 21%
  • Aggravated assaults are up 53%

Overall Part 1 crime has increased nearly 28% from this period last year.

While Alexandria remains a safe community, this cycle of violence must be ended to maintain our quality of life. That requires that we prevent crime where possible and ensure that those committing violence in our community face justice.

Wilson said there are multiple approaches to addressing the uptick in violent crime, including boosting police staffing and combatting attrition in the Alexandria Police Department. Alexndria gained 18 new police officers and 15 new sheriff’s deputies earlier this year, which Wilson said is one of the largest classes Alexandria’s put through the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Academy in recent years, but the department has said last year that short-staffing has required it to reduce its community services.

According to Wilson, the city’s approach needs to include:

  • Restoring Police Staffing/Reducing Attrition
  • Expanding “upstream” investments (family supports, mental/behavioral health, housing, re-entry programs, etc) proven to reduce violence
  • Expanding community policing
  • Continue advocacy for new laws in Washington and Richmond to slow the flow of dangerous firearms into our community

“Coupled with new investments in preventative (upstream) investments, we can buck national and regional trends and reduce violence and property crimes in our City,” Wilson said.

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