Stopping violence is about understanding and addressing the circumstances that cause violence to erupt and spread. Law enforcement plays a critical role in this process. We have a national crisis of low-solve rates for homicides, creating the impression in neighborhoods across the country that we do not value people enough to solve the murders of their loved ones and making it seem like it is possible to get away with murder. This low-solve rate problem is especially corrosive because law enforcement agencies continue to use their limited public safety resources to combat low-level offenses like marijuana usage while leaving the most serious crimes unsolved. This is not only a waste of precious public safety resources, but also a recipe for further undermining the trust that communities have in the people sworn to serve and protect them. But law enforcement is not the only, or even the most important, answer to addressing cycles of violence.
In fact, we ask law enforcement to do far too much to triage the problems that arise from our frayed social fabric. We need to invest significant resources outside of the law enforcement paradigm to make sure we are interrupting cycles of violence. And we must be ready to provide targeted resources to people who are victims of serious physical harm and to those who are most at risk of being a future perpetrator or victim of violence.
- Transform the role of first responders. For most calls for help, social workers and mental health professionals have the right expertise to solve the problem. Unarmed civil-servants are the right response for low-level infractions.
- Focus traditional law enforcement resources to dramatically increase the solve rate of the most serious offenses, such as shootings, homicides, and sexual assaults.
- Provide resources for non-law-enforcement-led, community-based violence interruption models.
- Provide real options and sustained resources to crime survivors and their families, including mental health treatment costs, trauma services, victim relocations services, and help covering basic needs such as housing, food, and transportation.
- Fund programs for people who are at serious risk of being either the perpetrator or victim of gun violence, provide non-law-enforcement-led services including job training and placement assistance, education, and help covering basic needs such as housing, food, and transportation.
- Hold police officers accountable for corruption and unreasonable violent conduct.