RAINIER BEACH – Six months after Seattle Police asked for help dealing with a “Public Safety Emergency,” Seattle City Councilman Tim Burgess has announced a win of nearly $1,000,000 in federal funds to help address youth violence in the Rainier Beach neighborhood of Southeast Seattle.
“For those who say ‘nothing is being done, this is something,” said longtime community activist and Rainier Beach Community Empowerment leader Gregory Davis. “It was identified as an idea by Rainier Beach residents, it was put in the neighborhood plan and we were successful in getting the idea funded.”
Calling it “very good news… for highly focused police innovation around the policing of micro places where crime is concentrated,” Councilman Burgess says on his blog that the $978,000 grant from the federal government’s Bureau of Justice Assistance will be used to implement an “innovative place-based, community-oriented youth violence prevention strategy in Rainier Beach.”
“This needs to be combined with the other efforts already underway of which there are many,” added Davis. “It cannot succeed as a stand alone, and the neighborhood needs to continue to be proactively engaged by SPD.”
“This is a great opportunity to improve public safety in this neighborhood,” said Burgess.
In fact, the neighborhood has seen more than its share of violence with what sometimes seems like an endless stream of shootings, especially near the troubled intersection of Rainier Avenue South and South Henderson Street, which is also home to several schools, a library and a community center.
In July, a 21-year woman died from injuries sustained in a mass shooting near Renton Avenue South and Lindsey Place South in which two other females, 17 and 18 years old, two 20-year-old men and one 21-year-old man were also injured.
Later that month, a man and his friend were walking near 42nd Avenue South and South Thistle Street around 10 pm Monday when police say they were “ambushed” by a gun-wielding suspect who shot one of the men in the arm.
Shortly thereafter, two other men escaped injury when they were targeted in a 3 pm shooting near Rainier Avenue South and South Henderson in Rainier Beach when police say an unknown suspect fired 7-8 shots near the 9000 block of Rainier Avenue South.
In May, a man was taken to the hospital after being shot in the leg in the 9100 block of Rainier Avenue South. A few days later, a man in his 30s was shot multiple times at Rainier Avenue South and South Fisher Place.
In April, a mom and baby were targeted in a drive-by shooting in the 5100 block of South Augusta Street.
In February, two men were shot and killed outside of a restaurant in the 9400 block of Rainier Avenue South.
In January, two people were shot – one killed – outside of a Subway sandwich shop in the 9300 block of Rainier Avenue South. Shortly thereafter, a 15-year-old boy and a 29-year-old man were both shot in the 9100 block of Rainier Avenue South.
More from the Councilman’s announcement:
The project builds on two ongoing City initiatives deeply embedded in the community—the Youth Violence Prevention Initiative and the Rainier Beach Neighborhood Plan Update. The plan update specifically asked the Police Department to “consider a ‘hot spots’ approach to crime prevention” in the neighborhood.
The City will partner with George Mason University’s Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy for the project’s research and evaluation component, work that is crucial in measuring the impact of taxpayer dollars. The GMU Center has done excellent work on the value of focusing police resources on particular problem places (often called “hot spots”), a topic about which I’ve written extensively.