2nd Dem faces recall effort in crime-ridden city after business owner endures violent robberies

Concerned Washington, D.C. residents and small business owners have banded together to oust a Democratic councilmember during an ongoing crime surge, marking the second recall effort launch in the district in months.

The recall effort against Councilmember Brianne Nadeau launched Tuesday over her relaxed criminal justice reform policies as the district grapples with skyrocketing crime in recent years, leaving some business owners in turmoil and many residents feeling unsafe. The announcement echoed a push to remove fellow Councilmember Charles Allen, which has attracted support from Democratic political fundraisers and congressional staffers who have helped raise over $56,000 for the campaign.

“The historic rise in crime is not just mere numbers; they represent shattered lives, eroded trust, and a community living in fear,” the Nadeau recall effort’s chairwoman, Diana Alvarez, said last week.

An escalating crime surge led to two recall efforts being launched against Democratic councilmembers in Washington, D.C. within a few months of each other.  (Getty Images)

Alvarez, who owns a small business in Nadeau’s district, said she was driven to launch the campaign after her smoke shop endured three violent robberies. 

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“My employees were terrorized, and my security costs have become astronomical,” she said in the statement. “I know that I am one of many people and businesses in this dire situation.”

As crime has dropped in some major cities across the country, the nation’s capital ended 2023 with a 26-year high in homicides with 274 murders, according to Metropolitan Police Department data. Robberies and thefts spiked 67% and 23%, respectively, and motor vehicle thefts nearly doubled.

Men wearing masks steal from Walgreens,

Some Washington, D.C. businesses saw a string of break-ins in 2023 as crime skyrocketed. The ongoing crime surge has continued into the new year, putting some businesses at risk.  (Fox News/Sophie Rychalski/Metropolitan Police Department)

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The surging violence has caused some district businesses to move or shut down completely, including a nearly 10-year-old wine bar that closed in December after the restaurant faced five burglaries in five months. In Nadeau’s district, a string of 10 robberies within a few weeks last year led to increased fear and hefty damages for some business owners and residents in the Adams Morgan neighborhood, ABC7 reported.

“I understand people’s concerns about crime,” Nadeau told WUSA9 in response to the recall campaign. The three-term councilmember said she’s spearheading three bills to address public safety concerns, including legislation aimed at improving the city’s 911 center and police cadet recruitment. 

“I will focus on doing the work that I was sent here to do by Ward 1 voters, and I will keep doing that regardless of any recall efforts,” Nadeau told the local outlet. 

Washington, D.C. businesses close down over crime

Frustrated residents and business owners launched a recall effort against Washington, D.C. Councilmember Brianne Nadeau on Tuesday over her handling of the city’s crime crisis. The skyrocketing crime has even led some businesses to move or shut down completely.  (Getty Images)

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But Alvarez accused Nadeau of allowing an environment for criminals to thrive as violence escalated. 

“Brianne Nadeau has fundamentally failed to take any consequential action to reduce crime, and it is time she is held accountable,” Alvarez said. 

The recall campaign blamed Nadeau for encouraging criminals through her support of progressive legislation in recent years. The councilmember voted in favor of slashing $15 million from the police budget in 2020 and supported an overhaul to the city’s criminal code in 2022 that would have lowered the maximum penalties for certain offenses like burglaries and carjackings if Congress hadn’t blocked the legislation. 

Washington, D.C., police officers at crime scene

The nation’s capital saw the highest number of homicides in over two decades last year as crime escalated across the district.  (Getty Images)

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“The dream of a safe, vibrant, and prosperous Ward-1 seems more distant with each passing day,” Alvarez said. “I am proud to lead this effort because we deserve representation that is responsive to our needs, not in denial of them.”

The campaign intends to file an intent for recall with the Board of Elections in a few weeks and will then have 180 days to obtain signatures from 10% of the ward’s registered voters, The Washington Post reported. Nadeau’s seat would be vacant until a special election is held to replace her if the recall campaign prevails, but a recall effort hasn’t been successful in the district’s 50 years of home rule. 

Nadeau did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. 

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