(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Bowser, Chief Robert J. Contee, III of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), and Fire Chief John A. Donnelly highlighted holiday safety tips regarding package thefts, theft from auto, MPD safe exchange zones, the Mayor’s camera incentive program, and safe holiday cooking practices. The Mayor also announced a partnership between the District and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to combat violence by targeting and removing illegal firearms.
“The safety of our residents is – and always has been – my number one priority. During this year’s holiday season, we want to make sure that we are reminding residents of ways that they can keep themselves as well as their families safe,” said Mayor Bowser. “We are also proud to announce our new partnership with the ATF. This partnership will be one of the many innovative strategies we are implementing to drive down violent crime in our communities across all eight wards.”
MPD Police Chief Contee and Fire Chief Donnelly provided residents with holiday safety tips regarding package thefts, theft from auto, MPD safe exchange zones, the Mayor’s camera incentive program and holiday cooking tips. The number of reported package thefts had steadily increased each year in the District since 2015, but has started to decline in 2021. MPD encourages residents to track packages, have them delivered where or when someone is available to receive them and report thefts immediately to MPD by calling 911 or filing an online police report at mpdc.dc.gov/service/file-police-report-online.
Residents are reminded that Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires with more than three times the daily average for such incidents. Christmas Day and Christmas Eve ranked second and third, with both having nearly twice the daily average.
“At Thanksgiving, we see the highest number of home cooking fires than any other day of the year,” said Fire Chief John A. Donnelly Sr. “These fires can spread fast and be disastrous. Check your smoke alarms to make sure they are working and don’t leave food unattended while cooking. Those critical steps can and will save lives and property.”
As for the new partnership with the ATF, the Metropolitan Police Department currently offers a reward of up to $2,500 to anyone who provides information that leads to the recovery of an illegal firearm in the District of Columbia. To incentivize community members to assist law enforcement with this effort, the ATF is offering an additional reward of up to $5,000 for the recovery of illegal firearms and arrest of individuals possessing or trafficking these firearms. This amounts to a total reward of up to $7,500. These illegal firearms include Privately Made Firearms (PMF) or “Ghost Guns” and/or Handgun Conversion Devices, commonly referred to as “Auto Sears” or “Glock Switches.” This year, 2000 illegal firearms have been recovered in the District and of those at least 42 were Glock Switches.
“In order to protect the safety and well-being of all District residents and visitors, we need to interrupt the illegal market of firearms,” said Chief Contee. “We all have a responsibility to prevent, interrupt, and prosecute gun violence to make our communities safer. Our partnership with the ATF demonstrates the severity of the issue and highlights the urgency of combating this community threat.”
The Private Security Camera System Incentive Program, administered by the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants (OVSJG), encourages residents, businesses, non-profits, and religious institutions to install security camera systems on their property and register them with MPD. MPD has used footage from camera program participants to identify suspects in a variety of crimes and has led to the arrest and successful prosecution in several violent crimes, including homicide.
There are two ways to participate in the Private Security Camera Incentive program:
The Private Security Camera Rebate Program creates a rebate for residents, businesses, nonprofits, and religious institutions to purchase and install security camera systems on their property and register them with the Metropolitan Police Department. The program provides a rebate of up to $200 per camera, with a maximum rebate of up to $500 per residential address (e.g., home offices, condo buildings, and apartments) and $750 for all other eligible addresses. The rebate is exclusively for the cost of the camera(s) including any applicable tax.
The Private Security Camera Voucher Program provides a private security camera system to eligible residents free of charge. District residents—either owners or tenants—who receive public assistance may be eligible to have a camera system installed at their home. There are currently 10,194 total rebates and 23,645 total private security cameras in the private security camera rebate program.
Residents, businesses, nonprofits, and religious institutions can learn more and apply for the program by visiting the OVSJG website – ovsjg.dc.gov. Additional questions about the rebate or voucher program can be sent to [email protected] or (202) 727-5124.