COUNCIL PASSES PILOT PROJECT ADDRESSING THE CYCLE OF CRIME
Project will link law enforcement with human services in key neighborhood 'hot spots'
SEATTLE –Today, the Seattle City Council established a pilot program connecting law enforcement with human services that will immediately take effect in three key Seattle neighborhoods.
“This is the first time the Council has passed legislation linking law enforcement and human services to address crime,” says Council President Nick Licata, chair of the committee on public safety. “It’s an innovative program that will help tackle the root causes of crime.”
Councilmembers Licata and Tom Rasmussen (chair of the Council's committee on human services) co-sponsored the legislation that targets three city ‘hotspots’ for quality of life crimes; Miller Park; Downtown; and Rainier Beach. The legislation means that $240,000 will immediately go to the Miller Park and Rainier Beach pilot programs and $120,000 will be reserved for the Downtown pilot later this summer.
These pilot programs will connect offenders with services. Often, simply arresting offenders does not solve the problem. Outreach workers will now provide access to case management; diagnosis; and treatment and services to address issues such as mental illness, addiction, homelessness and unemployment.
“I have heard from the people of these neighborhoods many times who told me they were seeing the same offenders on the same streets continually creating an unsafe environment in their community,” said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, chair of the Council’s committee on human services. “We can’t arrest our way out of these problems. We need a better approach to end the cycle of crime.”
Licata and Rasmussen secured funding for this innovative pilot program in last year’s budget. After a series of citizen oversight committee meetings, the programs were developed with neighborhood groups, law enforcement personnel and service providers. Each program will be evaluated to access effectiveness.