The chairman of D.C.'s police union says the diversion of officers to watch over protesters in Freedom Plaza, McPherson Square, and elsewhere in the city have resulted in more crime than last year.
The union representing D.C. police claims crime in the District is up, in part because officers are being pulled from neighborhood patrols and reassigned to monitor the Occupy D.C. protests.
Kristopher Baumann, chairman of D.C.'s Fraternal Order of Police wrote a letter to Mayor Vincent Gray stating violent crime is up by 17% and overall crime is up by 14% since protesters moved into the city 3 months ago.
The letter scolded Mayor Gray saying, “Your failure to warn District residents about a double digit spike in violent crime is inexcusable. The public has a right to know when crime is increasing and public awareness can facilitate crime prevention."
Baumann referenced Mayor Gray's December 15 interview with NewsTalk's Bruce Depuyt in the letter, saying the mayor's comments about the number of MPD officers redeployed to police the Occupy protesters was misleading. According to Baumann, crime has risen around the city because neighborhood police officers have been diverted to the political protests.
Gray did say during the interview that he'd like the federal government to chip in to pay for the cost of added security surrounding the political protests that have been encamped in the city since October. In an interview with News4's Tom Sherwood, he also acknowledged that the public has been "losing patience" with the movement.
In a strongly-worded conclusion, the police union chairman called for Mayor Gray to apologize for making misleading statements about the city's crime numbers.
On Wednesday, the National Park Service confirmed that protesters in Freedom Plaza have been issued a permit to stay in downtown D.C. until February 28.