Seattle police admit that gangs may be playing a role with the increased homicide rate in the city, guns are even more to blame. This week they addressed the City Council and worked on new approaches to reducing violence in the city that is plagued by mistrust of an embroiled police department.
So far this year, Seattle has seen 15 homicides. Last year there were 21 in the entire year. Cops say that guns are driving the increase.
“A person who has a gun is more likely to use a gun,” said Deputy Police Chief Nick Metz after the City Council briefing. But his “analysis” seems to be dramatically oversimplified. There are much bigger factors at play, including a city who simply can’t trust those tasked with “serving and protecting.”
The Seattle Police Department is currently working hand in hand with the Department of Justice to reduce use of force incidents after the feds determined local police were too quick to use force on citizens.
The police department is using old methods in an effort to stop the violence, including adding more cops to patrol and working to bolster Community-outreach officers. But community leaders themselves question whether these approaches will have any effect.
James Bible, leader of the local NAACP said that reducing violence would have to start from within the community, with churches, community centers and elders “offering alternative choices to youth.”
Councilman Tom Rasmussen, however, says he isn’t confident that the community efforts will help either.
“I have some skepticism about whether this will have any effect,” he said. “We have seen many community vigils, community mobilizations. We’ve heard about these strategies before. What’s going to change?”
There is little doubt that the city is experiencing growing pains. And although the homicide rate is far below other cities of its size, the rate is growing and people are rightfully concerned.
Local police and prosecutors will continue to treat those people accused of violent crimes as violent criminals, even before they have their day in court. That’s just the way it works, especially in a city where crime is rising and officials want to appear to be “tough” in the face of violence.
If you are accused of a gun crime or an assault, you can bet the legal system will come down hard on you. Contact our offices today to discuss how we might be able to help you reduce the effects that these charges have on your life.