The increase in D.C.’s minimum wage is a reason to celebrate, but the spike in violent crimes following the Fourth of July festivities in the District is cause for concern.
Here’s the best and worst news from around campus and the District this week.
D.C. increased its minimum wage to $12.50 this week.
The D.C. minimum wage increased by a dollar from $11.50 to $12.50 per hour. This increase, implemented Saturday, is part of a plan to gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020. The 2013 D.C. Minimum Wage Amendment Act proposed increasing the minimum wage in increments, starting by raising the minimum wage to $11.50 last year. The minimum wage will continue to increase gradually, starting again in 2018 rising to $13.25, then $14 in 2019 and finally reaching $15 in 2020. After this increase, the minimum wage will be tied to the inflation rate.
Minimum wage for tipped workers also increased this week. Tipped workers received a raise from $2.77 to $3.33 per hour, with a goal to raise it to $5 an hour by 2020.
The hike in minimum wages will positively impact workers because it will lead to a better quality of life as workers are able to afford almost all basic necessities. Furthermore, raising the minimum wage can lead to more productive workers because it reduces turnover and increases job tenure.
GW can take some pointers from the D.C. government. GW recently cut wages for its summer student employees from then D.C. minimum wage of $11.50 to the federal minimum wage of $7.50 per hour, a cut of $4 per hour.
Higher minimum wages is a good move for the District’s workers and GW student employees will appreciate if they, too, can receive the benefits of higher wages.
Six shootings and a stabbing took place in the District after July Fourth festivities.
The Metropolitan Police Department is currently investigating at least six shootings and a stabbing that occurred following Independence Day in the District. These incidents took place between 11 p.m. on the night of July Fourth and 5 a.m. the next morning. Although the police have a description of the suspects for some of the incidents, they haven’t made any arrests.
A spike in violent crimes, like shootings and stabbings, is not unusual during the Fourth of July. The District wasn’t the only region to experience violent crimes. In Chicago, more than a 100 people were shot over the Fourth of July weekend. And these high crime rates during this time of year appear to be part of a trend. In Boston, the July Fourth holiday is ranked as the busiest day of the year for treating shooting and stabbing victims. An increase in violence during this holiday can be attributed to the large gatherings and alcohol influenced decisions, which drive up the number of shooting and stabbing incidents, according to police.
The country and the District should continue to celebrate freedom and independence on the Fourth of July in a grand celebration, but a little bit of responsibility and due diligence from citizens can go a long way to ensure that everyone can enjoy the freedoms of this country.
Shwetha Srinivasan, a senior majoring in international affairs and economics, is The Hatchet’s contributing opinions editor.