(Washington, DC) Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Robert J. Contee III announced the Violent Crime Impact Team (VCIT), a collaborative effort between local and federal partners to remove illegal firearms from the community and apprehend armed criminals. The focus of VCIT is to reduce violent crime by using more intelligence-driven operations and enhance our investigative abilities through federal agency partnerships.
“We cannot allow people to terrorize our communities with guns,” said Mayor Bowser. “This is about using a whole-of-government approach, but it’s also about focusing our attention and resources on exactly where we know the problem is. Our message is clear – we will continue to offer people in our city a better path forward, but if people choose to engage in violence, then they will be held accountable.”
The Violent Crime Impact Team is a joint partnership established by MPD with our federal partners at the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The unit’s focus includes both a tactical component and an investigative element, which includes agents and detectives from all agencies. MPD, specifically, will be responsible for the proactive work on the street, targeting the removal of illegal firearms and violent offenders. The investigative element, housed by our federal partners, will focus on strengthening gun arrests through intelligence-led investigative tactics for efficient prosecution. MPD and our federal partners have already made drastic strides on removing violent offenders from our community since the creation of the VCIT. On Tuesday, March 22, 2022, members of the VCIT secured two United States District Court Indictments against two subjects responsible for distributing narcotics that led to multiple deaths in Washington, DC.
“The creation of the Violent Crime Impact Team is yet another example of MPD and our federal partners’ commitment to rid our city of illegal firearms and criminals who choose to commit senseless acts of violence in our community,” said Chief Robert J. Contee III. “We know, that law enforcement partnerships, intelligence-led policing and proactive collaboration lead to better outcomes. Enough is enough. Together with our law enforcement partners, we are invested and continue to make DC the safest city in the nation, and we will use every resource available to do so.”
In addition to the Violent Crime Impact Team, MPD continues to partner with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Washington Field Office, and the United States Attorney’s Office to form the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) that focuses on linking firearms from crime scenes and identifying those who are using them. With the focus on removing illegal firearms in DC, MPD also recovered 439 ghost guns in 2021 and 136, as of April 11, 2022, with the help of ATF’s processing facility.
Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Chris Geldart also noted that the VCIT collaboration is a part of the larger Safer, Stronger Roadmap to address all crime in the District and discussed some of the other efforts in the ecosystem including the recently announced People of Promise initiative where residents who are vulnerable to committing violent acts are being matched with service teams comprised of staff from one or more District agencies.
“We have a strategic plan to address crime in our city, including violent crime, that was implemented in 2016, and the data shows that before the pandemic, we were making progress,” said Deputy Mayor Geldart. “Now that we have reopened and are returning to a sense of normalcy, we must work to restore our sense of community values in addition to ensuring proper police enforcement.”