One or more Secret Service agents protecting one of President Joe Biden’s five granddaughters shot at three unidentified individuals who were trying to break into a government-owned car in Washington, D.C., just before midnight.
The three would-be thieves attempted to break into a “parked and unoccupied government vehicle” in the Georgetown neighborhood late Sunday night, the Secret Service said in a written statement on the incident.
At least one Secret Service agent reported firing at the offenders, although he said he believes “no one was struck.” All three bolted from the scene in a red vehicle, and agents began coordinating a “regional lookout” for them.
The attempted car theft is part of a pandemic of carjackings and car break-ins in the nation’s capital.
The Washington Examiner reported that carjackings and other car-related crime increased nearly 250% in the past five years. Such criminal incidents are up 102% since October last year, according to statistics from the Metropolitan Police Department.
The incident involving the Secret Service wasn’t the only such vehicle-related D.C. crime in the past few days.
A white Ford F-250 pickup truck with government tags was carjacked at 6 a.m. Monday, less than two miles from the U.S. Capitol building.
Alan Henney, who tweets about D.C. crime, reported that guns were stolen from two different vehicles in Penn Quarter and Chinatown, near Ford’s Theatre and the National Portrait Gallery. He also reported that four people were shot Sunday, one during a carjacking, in Northwest Washington.
The drivers of two different Uber vehicles, a Toyota Corolla and a BMW, were carjacked over the weekend.
In early October, Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, was carjacked near his home in DC by three men brandishing guns.
The D.C. Council has promoted “soft-on-crime” policies over the past few years, critics argue.
In January, the 13-member council passed legislation called the Revised Criminal Code Act to reduce maximum sentences, eliminate most mandatory minimum sentences, and expand “rights to jury trials” for those accused of misdemeanors.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, vetoed the bill. But the council, made up of Democrats except for two independents, overrode it within a week.
D.C. Attorney General Brian Schwalb, a Democrat, said the bill would “improve public safety and provide long overdue clarity and fairness in our justice system.”
In early March, the U.S. Senate voted to overturn the changes to the D.C. criminal code, with all Republicans and 33 Democrats supporting that. Biden then signed that override into law.
Since then, the mayor’s office has begun providing Apple Air Tags, a remote tracking device, to D.C. residents so they could track their car in the event of a carjacking. One victim later told The Washington Post that police officers refused to do anything with the tracking data as her car was being stolen; officers told her, “We can’t pursue.”
D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson told Congress in March that, despite the public’s “perception” that the city is unsafe, “there is not a crime crisis” in the nation’s capital.
After Cuellar was attacked, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, posted that it was “Time to invoke Article I, Section 8, Clause 17” of the U.S. Constitution. The clause gives Congress unilateral authority over the District of Columbia.
Lee elaborated, writing: “D.C. is dangerous. Something’s gone terribly wrong here—for far too long. Congress has the sole power to make D.C.’s laws, and must intervene.”
A Heritage Foundation report by legal fellows Zack Smith and Cully Stimson found that the District of Columbia’s effort to rewrite its criminal code benefited criminals at the expense of victims and public safety. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s news outlet.)
Heritage’s July 12 report called on Congress to “enact commonsense solutions” such as those that helped “drive down crime rates in the 1990s.”
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