by M. Anthony Davis
The Metropolis of Seattle hosted a press convention on the morning of Tuesday, Aug. 31, in response to 6 shootings over the weekend. Metropolis leaders, together with Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz, Metropolis Councilmember Alex Pedersen, and Rex Brown of the Metropolis of Seattle Human Companies Division (HSD) had been current.
Diaz spoke on most of the current shootings, together with an incident the place a person was shot and killed Tuesday morning in Capitol Hill throughout an alleged tried theft. In keeping with Diaz, there have been 100 extra shootings within the metropolis in comparison with this time of 12 months in 2020, and 150 extra in comparison with 2019.
As a substitute of utilizing these statistics to argue for brand new inventive options to maintain communities protected, nevertheless, Diaz and Pedersen used the upticks in gun violence to advocate for extra Seattle Police Division (SPD) officers.
“To handle the intense spike in gun violence, I imagine our Metropolis Council must accomplice with each our police division and group nonprofits, for a multipronged response with efficient violence prevention applications,” Pedersen stated.
Pedersen, who represents District 4, the place two individuals had been fatally shot over the weekend in Lake Metropolis, didn’t go into element on how a “multipronged” response would work, or how present efforts between SPD and nonprofits might be strengthened or additional supported to make sure security in our communities. He stated that he hopes fellow councilmembers crafting the midyear price range “acknowledge the truth of the police scarcity disaster” and work with the group to recruit and practice new officers.
Along with saying he would remember to name on Metropolis Council to help will increase to the police drive, Pedersen additionally recommended Mayor Durkan on her commitments to “reimagine public security by increasing social service investments,” by way of HSD.
Brown, who started in his function as the primary director of the Secure and Thriving Communities Division of HSD in July, stated this division was created in response to the Black Lives Matter protests in summer time 2020 and that since then HSD has invested $20 million in community-based organizations. In keeping with Brown, as of June, group organizations have responded to 39 essential incidents and convened 19 conferences to debate system coordination that included a liaison from the SPD.
However we’ve got seen a major enhance in gun violence during the last two months, and leaning on options created in 2020 doesn’t absolutely handle the present traits we’re seeing, nor do they lead the general public to imagine we’re headed within the path of safer communities.
When Kevin Schofield from Seattle City Council Insight requested Brown whether or not the HSD investments are literally new, Brown responded by noting that whereas these investments have been mentioned earlier than, the implementation is new. He stated that city household coaching, ongoing help for essential incidents and hotspots, and month-to-month group engagement trainings are all new and modern options.
“We typically grow to be accustomed to maybe a speedy change, versus an efficient change,” Brown stated.
However is it honest to say that “we” are accustomed to speedy change? Gun violence remains to be on the rise, and the spikes we see proceed to have an effect on these from marginalized communities on the highest charges. The commitments we obtained within the wake of George Floyd and 2020’s summer time of protest are beginning to come to fruition now, however we’re presently within the midst of yet one more 12 months of elevated gun violence. This doesn’t really feel like “speedy change.”
And whereas Brown speaks on behalf of a person metropolis division, the place is the brand new dedication from the Metropolis as a complete? Diaz spoke of SPD’s present group involvement, however the place are the brand new and modern concepts from SPD to fight gun violence? When will SPD put forth concepts that transcend extra cops?
It was a pleasant concept for the Metropolis to host a panel within the wake of yet one more violent weekend in Seattle, however within the face of this current violence, it could have been higher to listen to new options. As a substitute, we realized HSD is now implementing concepts from final 12 months, Diaz wants 1,400 officers to patrol town, and Pedersen’s solely concrete resolution is to make sure the police have adequate price range for recruiting and retaining new officers.
What we didn’t hear from this press convention was compassion. We didn’t hear any recent or new concepts that may handle the present state of our communities. We didn’t hear any new monetary commitments to nonprofits working to cease violence or new types of group engagement from SPD. Nobody addressed how the necessity for housing and assets relates to crime and the way we are able to anticipate these upticks when so many in our metropolis are in want of housing.
As a substitute, we heard year-old commitments and unending requires supporting SPD’s price range. My coronary heart is heavy for the victims and their households.
M. Anthony Davis (Mike Davis) is a neighborhood journalist protecting arts, tradition, and sports activities.
📸 Featured Picture: “We Need to Stay” rally held in South Seattle on June 7, 2020. (Photograph: Alex Garland)
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