It’s no secret that illegal gun crime is a major problem in our urban areas. Gun violence is a multi-faceted and complex issue. Whatever the circumstances, and whatever the outcomes, the resulting negative impact in our communities is demonstrable and profound.
Reducing gun violence must be a core objective as we work to improve our communities and ensure that they are safe. Law enforcement cannot fight the gun violence battle alone. While their swift response to incidents of gun violence is critical, it is not enough to be reactive. Law enforcement leaders need community partners, citizens from each neighborhood, and elected officials alike to act in the public interest to reduce the escalating level of gun violence in America.
Each community must develop and embrace its own plan to address the gun violence problems in their area.
As a beginning, a multifaceted plan would include efforts to:
Keep Communities Safe through1…
- Increased public awareness of the impact of gun violence
- Engaging community support in reducing gun violence
- Reducing easy access to guns
- Protecting children and youth from gun violence
- Removing guns from domestic violence Situations
- Prohibit gun possession by at-risk individuals
1 IACP and the Joyce Foundation partnered to develop this Planning Guide, “Reducing Gun Violence In Your Community” http://www.theiacp.org/Portals/0/pdfs/GVR_page-2_TAS-Planning-Guide.pdf
Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forte Fights Crime — and get results — with ShotSpotter.
Keep Police Officers Safe through…
- Reducing the Availability and Lethality of Firearms to Criminals
- Providing officers with the most advanced firearms, protective technologies and information. These
should include gunfire detection, location, alerting and analysis technologies which:
- improve officer safety by providing data on the number and precise location of the shooters in real time;
- fuel a more effective law enforcement response to gun crime by empowering first responders to be on the scene faster, with more/better intelligence, knowing precisely where to go and generally being much better prepared; and
- provide data that aides in prosecution. Law enforcement is more likely to recover shell casings, link those shells both to gun type and specific weapon used, identify the shooter, and obtain a detailed forensic report and court-admissible data.
What can I do?
Major initiatives are in the works to prevent gun violence across the country. Some of these are:
- the expansion of youth employment in communities especially affected by violence,
- the reporting of lost or stolen firearms,
- implementing text message tip lines and neighborhood watch programs.
Without exception, these are started by one person with a love of community and a passion for change. Any person with a vision to enhance community safety through the reduction of gun violence can make a difference. Most importantly, these solutions begin by looking within the community and empower people to change the policies governing their homes and neighborhoods, which is the best way to achieve real social change.
Model Gun Violence Reduction Programs
For inspiration, here are some grassroots approaches2. Early successes include:
- Operation Ceasefire – Boston, Massachusetts
- Project Exile – Richmond, Virginia
- Project Safe Neighborhoods – National Gun Violence Reduction Initiative
2 As noted in the joint report from the Joyce Foundation and the IACP: http://www.theiacp.org/portals/0/pdfs/gunviolencereductionguide2011.pdf