Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, communities across the country have been grappling with increases in violent crime. Bail reform—which has been proven to promote public safety and improve access to pretrial justice—has come under scrutiny in recent months in a continued effort to distract from the real root of the country’s violent crime problem: the availability of guns. Powerful stakeholders with perverse incentives to preserve cash bail have grabbed hold of the national conversation and filled it with unfounded claims that bail reform is linked to increased rates of violent crime. The truth is that bail reform makes us safer—and it is gun access that is a key driver of violent crime and homicides.
In the past two weeks, four Washington, D.C., teenagers have died violently , including a mass shooting at a Juneteenth event in the bustling U Street Corridor that wounded a police officer, two civilians, and claimed the life of a 15-year-old boy , who cried out for his mother in his final moments. In the nation’s capital and across the country, Americans are getting too used to unthinkable tragedies like these. It’s time to change course to return peace and safety to our communities.