The shooting death of a 15-year-old boy Friday near a Seattle high school underscores the need to admit that the city has a gang problem and to launch a plan to prevent youth violence, City Councilman Tim Burgess told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. “We need to acknowledge that we have a gang crisis in our city,” he Burgess. “Our city is awash in illegal guns that are available to 12-, 13- and 14-year-olds. Police are seizing illegal guns at record rates.”
On Friday, the City Council will discuss funding for Mayor Greg Nickels’ proposed Youth Violence Prevention Initiative. Nickels’ plan calls for spending $9 million over two years. Burgess said multiple offenders need to be identified and targeted. School resource officers will be reinstated at middle schools and high schools. The mayor’s plan also proposes keeping youth centers open later at night to give kids a place to go, increasing efforts to reduce truancy and placing intervention teams on the streets. Burgess is proposing an illegal-gun interdiction in cooperation with federal agents, which would also provide harsher penalties to criminals in possession of illegal weapons.