• Are Synthetic Drugs Causing A Bloody Spike In DC Murders?

    The murder rate in the District of Columbia is at its highest in years, and the city’s police chief said Thursday she plans to get it under control.

    Chief Cathy Lanier said at a press conference the city plans to add more officers in patrol units to help bring the murder count back in order, The Washington Post reported.

    Lanier was joined by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser who said she was very troubled about the recent spike in crime.

    “We are very concerned about the increase in crime related to guns and certainly very concerned about the increase in homicides,” she said.

    The two announced a new “All Hands On Deck” initiative that will take place at the end of August, and will put every available officer on the street for the entire weekend. Lanier said crime drops as much as 28 percent during these surges in police officers.

    “This is a spike that is unusual for us, even though it is the beginning of summer, but we will get it under control. We’re making good progress. We’ll have some closures here in the next couple of days,” Lanier said.

    So far in 2015, the district has seen 65 homicides, representing more than a 20 percent increase over the same time period last year. More troubling, though, is that the city is averaging nearly one murder per day over that last two weeks.

    Many of those murders could be related to an increase in synthetic drug use in the city, NBC4 Washington reported.

    Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Kevin Donahue told the TV station almost 40 percent of the people arrested for violent crimes so far this year have had the synthetic drugs in their systems.

    Earlier this month, Bowser announced a new initiative in the city that she hopes will alleviate the problems caused by synthetic drug use.

    The synthetic drugs, with strange names like K2, Scooby Snax, Bizzaro and Spice are dangerous hallucinogens, Bowser said, and can lead to death. She introduced legislation to stop businesses that illegally sell the drugs.

    The “Sale of Synthetic Drugs Emergency Amendment Act of 2015″ gives the chief of police the authority to close down a business found selling synthetic drugs for up to 96 hours and would fine the business $10,000 for its first violation.

    The second time a business is caught selling synthetic drugs, it will be shut down for 30 days, fined $20,000 and could possibly have its business license revoked.

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