Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser seemingly shrugged off a viral video that shows a group of teenage boys allegedly in the nation’s capital debating crimes and felony charges, such as murder and armed carjacking.
“I won’t be wasting my time watching that,” Bowser told Fox 5 DC this week of the viral video. “If it is an accurate video, I’m not sure what I would do with that information.”
Fox News Digital has reached out to the mayor’s office multiple times since Monday, both via email and by phone, inquiring if Bowser had any comment on the video or if she had even seen it but did not receive a response.
The video was shared over the weekend on social media sites Instagram and X, with commenters alleging the footage captured a gaggle of teenage boys in Washington, D.C., arguing about what crime they would “rather” commit.
“He’s saying he’d rather commit murder than armed robbery … armed robbery is what we’re doing,” one teenager in the video is heard saying.
“It’s armed robbery and an armed carjacking … it’s both of them combined, that’s higher than murder,” another boy responded as they talked over each other.
The video obscures the boys’ faces, only showing them standing on what appears to be a street corner at night and wearing face masks.
“You’re taking a human life,” the first male in the video continues. “You’d rather take a human’s life and get life than rob someone and get 10 to 12 years.”
Another male off camera argues that a murder charge would also include a “gun charge, possession of a gun, murder, first-degree murder … that’s like eight charges in one case.”
The video has racked up more than 360,000 views on X and nearly 6,000 likes on Instagram.
“That’s dumb…you’d rather take a human’s life and get life than rob someone and get 10-12 years,” one of the teens says as the video ends.
The video sparked condemnation and shock from commenters on social media, with many describing being saddened by the kids’ casual conversation about violent crimes.
“This is more serious than just the crimes being committed,” Sen. Josh Haweley’s communication’s director Abigail Jackson posted on X. “A generation of kids in DC are casually talking about killing or robbing someone as if they’re deciding what candy they want at the movies. Serious psychological problems.”
“‘Criminals don’t pay attention to what the law says,'” the Manhattan Institute’s Charles Fain Lehman posted.
Other commenters called the video “real sad,” asked where the kids’ parents were and noted that at least one of the teens in the video still sounded like a “lil boy” who had not yet gone through puberty.
The video comes as violent crimes, stretching from homicide to robbery, have spiked this year in the nation’s capital.
Crime in the city has even affected political leaders and their families. A U.S. Secret Service agent assigned to protect President Biden’s granddaughter Naomi, for example, opened gunfire on Sunday in Georgetown in response to an attempted car break-in. Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar was carjacked by three armed attackers near the U.S. Capitol last month, and Democratic Minnesota Rep. Angie Craig was attacked by an “erratic” man suspected to be high on a drug in the elevator of her Washington, D.C., apartment building back in February, police said at the time.
All in, violent crime in Washington, D.C., has spiked by 39% as of Nov. 13 compared to the same time period in 2022, police data show. Homicides alone have spiked by 32% when compared to 2022, and motor vehicle thefts by a staggering 98% when compared to the same time period last year.
Juveniles have increasingly been arrested for crimes, with a report from the Washington Free Beacon in September finding 63% of carjacking arrests involved youths. Teenagers have also been arrested in a handful of homicide investigations, including a 17-year-old this week who was arrested for allegedly killing a 14-year-old, and a 17-year-old and 16-year-old who were arrested earlier this month for allegedly fatally shooting another teenager.
In the first nine months of this year, Washington, D.C., police arrested 458 juveniles for robbery, homicide or assault with a dangerous weapon, according to data from the mayor’s office.
Bowser declared a public emergency on Monday to address the increase in crimes committed by youths, as well as the city’s separate opioid crisis.
The order will allow the city to procure “additional placements for youth at shelter homes, group homes, supervised independent living facilities, secure facilities, residential treatment centers, psychiatric residential treatment centers, and foster homes;” and to engage in “cooperative agreements for programs and placements for detained and committed youth, including rehabilitative, therapeutic, substance-abuse, and trauma-informed programs.”
“Again, I need to emphasize how much the community needs to come together on this issue of young people involved in crime,” Bowser said Monday, according to Fox 5. “We need parents and caregivers to make sure they know where their teenagers are and what they’re doing. If you need help with your child, you need to reach out.”