A $9 million plan by Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels to quell youth violence is a good start in need of a broader platform, says an editorial in the Seattle Times. A sustained mix of efforts – including youth mentoring, job creation, and family-support resources such as anger-management counseling – is a necessary response to unabated youth violence over the years. Overall violent crime in Seattle has fallen since 2006, but violence among juveniles remains steady at about 800 incidents per year since 2003. Four Seattle teens have been shot to death this year.
The mayor’s plan targets 800 teens identified as either victims or instigators of gang violence. Most are known by authorities because they are consistently truant, frequently arrested by police, or have repeated stays in juvenile detention. The newspaper says funding from the mayor’s plan should encourage more centers to offer late-night activities, giving young people a place to gather. A glaring omission in the plan is how to work with teens who will predictably rebuff any intervention. The city must also figure out how to pull in families and support groups such as churches and social organizations. Seattle is taking the threat of gang violence seriously. It ought to include as many partners as possible and move forward with the mayor’s plan, says the Times.