- Washington, DC will invest $6 million in workforce development and violence prevention, with $4 million of that money going to the DC Infrastructure Academy, and the remaining $2 million going to the Cure The Streets initiative, designed to reduce violence.
- The academy provides training to help city residents get jobs that support infrastructure development and maintenance, including in energy, utilities and auto repairs. Cure The Streets treats violence as a disease by mediating disputes; providing support services and changing behavior in those prone to violence; and engaging with communities to change norms around violence.
- "We know that breaking cycles of violence requires more than just law enforcement,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a statement. “These investments recognize that as a government and as a community, we must stay focused on how we connect more Washingtonians to good-paying jobs and careers, how we prevent violence before it happens, and how we expand opportunity so that every person in our city feels a strong sense of hope, purpose, and dignity.”
DC has taken steps in recent times to reduce violence, including early last month when Bowser announced a new policy to protect city employees who are victims or survivors of domestic abuse, stalking and sexual assault. At the time, the city touted its policy as being "victim/survivor-centered" because it puts the primary focus on victims' and survivors' safety and well-being.
The Cure The Streets initiative will look to act in a similar vein on violence, with a focus currently on neighborhoods in the city’s Wards 5 and 8. The initiative looks to prevent retaliation — the cycle of violence on city streets as rivals look to take revenge on each other — but it may prove difficult in DC, which saw 160 homicides in 2018, a spike of around 40% from 2017. The city also struggles with gun violence, with many of those determined by the city’s Metropolitan Police Department to stem from petty beefs.
The investment in the city’s Infrastructure Academy is significant, as it was a cornerstone of DC’s partnership with automaker Ford that will use city streets as a testing ground for autonomous vehicles (AVs). The $4 million investment directed to the academy will help underpin the commitment last year to train residents in areas including AV maintenance and operation, and could also mean quicker installation of things like solar panels.