Seattle Police Launch New Programs to Combat Increase in Gun Violence

Experts thought the 30% increase in the homicide rate in 2020 would only be a brief blip. But most cities have seen a rise, and according to criminologist Susan Gravel, this is not the 1990s.

President Biden and his administration are working to stop the flow of weapons used in crimes, support local, state, and federal law enforcement, and fund community-based initiatives that aim to prevent, interrupt, and lessen violence as a way to combat this.

Community Participation

Community involvement is essential to safety and crime prevention across the nation. It enables police to establish relationships with residents, earn their trust, and collaborate with them to address community issues.

The Community Engagement Officer Program in Seattle is a pilot that matches volunteers from neighborhood organizations with law enforcement officers to help them get to know the residents of their communities. According to Lieutenant Tuttle, it’s a win-win situation since it allows police to cooperate with those who want to assist and strengthens their links to the local communities.

According to research, empowering local communities through neighborhood-led initiatives and providing venues for unofficial, neighbor-to-neighbor interaction decreases violence. These methods are especially crucial in underdeveloped communities. They also contribute to people feeling safer.

Prevention of Crime

Homicides have been shown to decrease due to crime prevention methods that target the underlying causes of violence. These include passing rational legislation to keep shooters from obtaining firearms.

Building and sustaining trust between communities and law enforcement is essential for crime prevention. Making sure that police departments are held responsible for their conduct is part of this.

Supporting initiatives for community-based policing is one method to do this. Historic federal funds have been made available by the Biden Administration to assist local law enforcement in advancing these initiatives.

Cities around the nation, including Milwaukee, New York City, Albuquerque, and Syracuse, have seen positive results from these expenditures in various crime reduction methods. 

For instance, the Seattle Mugshots program in Seattle that offers matching funding to neighborhood improvement projects by community organizations significantly reduced violent crime. This was associated with community residents feeling safer and accumulating more social capital in their neighborhoods.

Youth Participation

Seattle Police is investing in adolescent engagement as a crucial tactic in lowering the rise in gun crime. We want to educate young people about the function of law enforcement and the steps they may take to lessen violence on their own.

The COPS Office supports a range of community-based initiatives, such as youth mentoring and leadership training programs. The IF Project, for instance, uses social assistance and mentoring to assist at-risk Tacoma children in bridging the juvenile detention to jail pipeline.

The PAL (Police Athletics/Activities League) program, which encourages young people to participate in athletics and other activities, is another well-known initiative. Additionally, it gives children a chance to forge wholesome relationships with police officers and presents opportunities for teamwork and leadership growth.

In addition to these youth-led initiatives, Seattle Police collaborates with families to lower violence and drug usage. Offering preventative education and assisting family outreach programs are two examples of this.

Neighborhood-Focused Policing

The goal of community-oriented police is to address concerns and problems in communities by forming partnerships with citizens. This entails partnerships with governmental organizations, nonprofit service providers, for-profit companies, and the media, as well as open communication between the police and the community about their goals and methods.

Community-focused policing is becoming a part of many cities’ overall crime prevention plans. Some of these strategies focus on “violence interrupters” and “neighborhood change agents” who work for violence intervention programs.

These experts reach out to the people who are the source of gun violence, develop friendships with them, and seek to promote conflict resolution and healing through nonviolent means. The number of gun homicides has significantly decreased thanks to initiatives like Cure Violence (formerly CeaseFire) and Advance Peace around the nation, particularly in Chicago and other areas where they have been implemented.

Communities benefit from this problem-solving since it lessens the number of non-emergency calls that police must respond to on their own. Additionally, it gives police more time to discuss concerns and solutions with citizens.