Violence takes lives, but also devastates and traumatizes families, children, friends, and the community overall. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach and there doesn’t have to be a zero-sum safety solution to end the violence in Ward 1. We need to invest in sources that keep us out of the reactionary loop and install long-term solutions for everyone. We must fund and support sources that help to not only heal the traumatic wounds from violence, but to prevent it from happening in the first place. The only way for Ward 1 and our neighbors to truly flourish is for us all to feel safe.
As Councilmember, Sabel will advocate for a nuanced, layered legislative approach that will call for expanded investments in organizations that work directly in the communities, ways to keep the peace in nonviolent ways, intervention services for the people most at-risk with jobs, services, and mental health support.
Our Vision Of Safety For Ward 1
Community-Based Violence Prevention And Safety
One homicide is one too many and over the past 4 years, violent crime, particularly homicides, have increased in Ward 1. There is good work being done by the ONSE (Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement), organizations that deploy violence interrupters, and the Building Blocks program; however, there are many other areas and neighborhoods touched by violence that aren’t being looked after. Waiting for another shooting, another murder, and more violence to happen before more programs and resources are given is backwards and will only inflict more pain on our community.
Sabel will press for the expansion of current violence interruption and Building Blocks programs, an increase in funding for other organizations that are helping with mental health, and shifting responsibility for other agencies to take on non-violent offenses (such as, traffic violations).
The big solutions are an important piece of safety, yet the small everyday details in fixing street lights, having visible and working security cameras, and trash-free blocks also play a vital role too. When people see their communities’ cared for, they feel connected to their surroundings and neighbors.
Sabel will work closely with DPW (Department of Public Works), DGS (Department of General Services), DDOT (District Department of Transportation), and OUC (Office of Unified Communications) so that Ward 1 is looked after and critical infrastructure problems are solved quickly to help positively impact broader safety.
Interconnected Social Services
Our systems were fragile before, but COVID-19 pandemic has caused multiple fractures and pushed people to the brink of desperation. $1,000 for excluded workers wasn’t enough, returning citizens are held back after serving their time, securing deeply affordable housing is a competition for people who can’t spend time competing, and the mental health support for the families and victims who have been scarred by recent violence just isn’t there. People in Ward 1 are struggling and they aren’t getting the help they need. We have seen in many ways with the trauma our communities have faced that we cannot build on top of what was there before and sit back and wait for a political re-election cycle to pass.
We have data points and insights that can tell us who is most at-risk and Sabel believes we can meet these individuals where they are with training programs, jobs that help keep their communities clean and/or greening their neighborhoods, and cognitive behavioral therapy.
Violence is multi-pronged and complex, but with bold leadership and insightful planning we can address these prongs simultaneously. Providing people with a livable wage, comprehensive healthcare that includes mental health support, and affordable housing inside the neighborhoods they know, will help grow more fulfilling, thriving, and safe communities.
Action For Vision Zero On Traffic
Our roads, bridges, sidewalks, streetlights and more are outdated and costing us human lives. In November of 2021, DC recorded 37 traffic deaths which equaled what 2020 ended with and nearly 3,800 were injured. Vision Zero needs to be more than just fluffy language and it starts what we are choosing to prioritize.
While serving as Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, Sabel led efforts to close a dangerous slip lane at the intersection 16th St, U St, and New Hampshire Ave NW. Slip lanes were designed to help move traffic faster in the right hand turn lanes. Consequently, slip lanes also encourage drivers to often overlook pedestrians crossing, cyclists riding through, and even other cars passing.
DDOT issued a notice of intent (NOI), that would add bollards to the slip lane and to start the process in fully closing something that no longer works for the way we move through the community. Sabel will firmly push for the permanent closure of more slip lanes, identifying and putting in place traffic calming and adjustment measures at dangerous intersections along Columbia Rd as well as key intersections along U St before more people are killed and injured.
We are overdue on raised and illuminated crosswalks, reflective and LED signage, four-way stops, expanded sidewalks, protected bike lanes, closing more slip lanes, and so much more.
As Ward 1 Councilmember, Sabel not only will be a fierce advocate for traffic safety issues she sees with her own eyes, but also those she learns about from community members and ANCs (Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners). She will provide much needed oversight on DDOT’s service level agreements for traffic safety investigation in Ward 1 and transparency on future work. We can’t let another unspeakable loss happen in our communities because of our failure to act. None of this above is groundbreaking, but it is required to save lives.