D.C. police union: Violent crime rise due to Occupy protesters

The union representing D.C. police says that Occupy protesters, who have hunkered down in McPherson Square, Freedom Plaza and throughout the District for months, are to blame for an increase in crime in the city.

The District of Columbia Police Union says officers have repeatedly been pulled from neighborhood patrols and reassigned to monitor the protest.

As a result, they say, violent crime in the District increased by 17 percent from mid-November to mid-December.

In a letter to D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, union chairman Kristopher Baumann calls on the mayor to address a "startling increase" in violent crime.

In an interview on NewsTalk with Bruce DePuyt on NewsChannel 8 two weeks ago, Gray said that he wasn't sure if crime was up in the District over that time span.

WATCH: Mayor Gray with Bruce DePuyt on D.C. crime

Gray also said that he was unaware of any neighborhoods or areas of D.C. that saw drops in police patrol due to the Occupy movement.

"If we are not honest with the public about the level of crime, then it is difficult to properly protect everyone," Baumann says in the letter. The full text of his letter to Mayor Gray can be read here.