Washington DC is spending $270,000 of taxpayers’ money for a BLM paint job to refresh “Black Lives Matter Plaza” as violent crime continues to spike.
The anti-police street art, which features 50-foot yellow letters along two blocks of 16th Street, will be repainted at a massive cost to the taxpayer.
Further, the moves come as the district has implemented millions in budget cuts to its Police Department while violent crimes continue to skyrocket.
Zack Smith, a crime and justice expert at the Heritage Foundation, told the Washington Examiner:
“It’s insulting on multiple fronts.”
“If the city council and the mayor’s office are serious about combating violent crime, protecting the lives hopefully of all citizens, but particularly black lives, then they would pour more money into public safety — particularly putting more police officers on the street.”
“Instead, it seems like the city is prioritizing performative gestures that really don’t have an impact on combating violent crime,” he said, adding it sends the “message that violent crime will be tolerated in the city.”
The majority of the 40% increase in violent crime comes from the 34% increase in homicides in Washington throughout 2023, according to data.
Robbery has also increased by 68% in the same period.
Meanwhile, carjackings are up 93%.
“It’s no hidden fact about who’s being disproportionately victimized by violent crime in Washington, DC. It’s predominantly young black men,” Smith said.
“Whenever you see the number of shootings increase, whenever you see the number of homicides increase, unfortunately, that means that more young black men are being victimized by those crimes.
Carjackings in Washington, DC, are up 111% for 2023 as “baffled” police try to understand why the crime is so prevalent in the city.
We also reported that criminal carjackers in Washington were intentionally crashing into unsuspecting drivers to carjack them.
Police now warn the tactic is becoming more widespread as other incidents taking place locally saw unsuspecting drivers have carjackers crashing into them.
“We obviously don’t want people to take matters into their own hands,” Police.
“They’re not trained for that we don’t want to see people get hurt,” they added.
It’s no wonder police officers have been quitting the force in droves.
Millions in budget cuts have been made to the MPD since the 2020 riots.
The Washington Examiner noted that the department lost 331 officers on average per year from 2018 to 2021, and it has roughly 400 fewer officers than it did three years ago.
The outlet continued:
While the Council of the District of Columbia approved a $526.1 million police budget for 2023, that number is a 1.7% decrease from last year but nearly $100 million less than the budget in 2020.
While it is unclear where the cuts were made, the fiscal 2023 proposal cut millions from the Criminal Investigations Division and Narcotics and Special Investigations.
In 2021, Mayor Muriel Bowser, who originally commissioned the street art in 2020, promised to spend $4.8 million to “transform” Black Lives Matter Plaza, with an additional $3 million to follow.
According to a recent public records request from Judicial Watch, $271,231 was spent on materials and labor for repainting the letters.
“This entire movement, unfortunately, has built around two false narratives: That our criminal justice system is systemically racist, and that we have a mass incarceration problem in our country that essentially too many young black men are being locked up, and neither one of those are true,” Smith said.
“City leaders around the country, particularly city leaders in the District, have adopted those very problematic ideologies, and they’ve adopted policies based on them.”