SAN DIEGO (CNS) - City government and law enforcement leaders joined Wednesday to call for peace and healing following a series of recent local shootings and to announce the launch of the pilot program No Shots Fired.
"The recent increase of shootings in our city is cause for great concern, but it demands that we lean-in as a community rather than shy away," Mayor Todd Gloria said. "The No Shots Fired program represents an important collaboration between the city, law enforcement and community that seeks to stop gun violence, promote peace and create safer neighborhoods for all of us."
San Diego is one of the safer large cities in the United States, with a violent crime rate reported by the San Diego Police Department of 3.7 incidents per 1,000 people as recently as 2017 -- the lowest among the top 10 most populated cities in the country. However, in 2020, the city saw a 28% increase in gun violence and a 20% increase in citizens calling in reports of gunfire, according to the SDPD.
In the past three years, gang members have been responsible for approximately 20% of all murders in San Diego, police said.
Gloria, along with Councilmembers Monica Montgomery Steppe, Sean Elo-Rivera and Police Chief David Nisleit, said Wednesday that the recent uptick in shootings necessitated action.
No Shots Fired is a collaboration between the Commission on Gang Prevention and Intervention, the Community Assistance Support Team, law enforcement and other city partners. Community organizations will be tapped to reach an agreement with gangs in areas most affected by violent crime, such as Southeastern San Diego, to agree to a cease-fire for a six-month period.
"This is an important day for investing in and prioritizing public safety for our communities of concern," said Steppe, who is chair of the council's Committee on Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods. "After years of disinvestment and the corresponding impacts of community violence, the No Shots Fired Program is a step in the right direction to provide a policy solution that quells violence, promotes economic justice, and improves community policing relationships."
During that six-month period, organizations will work to provide outreach and resources to known gang members in the target communities and offer the individuals an opportunity for them to exit gang culture and life.
- Community walks;
- Streetside memorial services;
- Faith sponsored "peace meals" and organized outreach;
- Ceasefire agreements with gang leaders;
- Wrap-around services in person;
- Virtual meetings with gang members to discuss seasons of peace; and
- Coordination with law enforcement
"Every person in every neighborhood has a right to feel safe," Elo- Rivera said. "Violence, such as that which our community is currently experiencing, disrupts that right, is tragic and traumatic for all those who are involved, and a symptom of pain.
"The No Shots Fired program represents a holistic and proven method to increase safety in the short-term and heal our communities over the long- term," he continued.
The pilot program is anticipated to run through June 2021 with evaluation and potential for expansion at that time. The pilot program is funded by federal Community Oriented Policing Services grant funds.