Mayor Mike McGinn teams up to offer tough offense to Seattle gun violence
I'm not sure criminals think much about the consequences of crime but if they do, the threat of federal prosecution and tougher prison sentences could offer a strong deterrent to crime. Few who do the crime actually want to do the time, nor do they want to do it in a federal prison far from home.
The long, tough arm of federal law enforcement offers a strong response that complements city officials promise of more teen and gang outreach. The city-federal plan was announced Monday at a press conference that featured Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan and King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg, Deputy Police Chief Nick Metz and Kelvin Crenshaw, special agent in charge of the Seattle office of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Each took a turn outlining prosecutorial, policing and social service efforts to tackle the proliferation of guns as well as a troubling youth culture indifferent to gun violence.
Durkan said her office would look to prosecute more Seattle gun crimes, a move meant to add more sentencing heft and deter gun violence. This Times story outlines the proposals.
The feds have an aggressive track record and their stepped up presence is welcome. Satterberg noted that state penalties for felons convicted of possessing a firearm are too lenient.
Durkan correctly noted that people charged with federal gun crimes often face more time in prison. Once out, they are supervised better. Supervision has been hard hit in state budgets. A problem since repeat offenders are increasing.
Metz said "it hurts" that he's getting calls from Seattlites asking if they should be thinking about moving out of Seattle. But he underscored the important police work ongoing:
Since Jan. 1 of this year, 361 guns were recovered from people who had stolen them or illegally possessed them. During that same time period, 81 guns were stolen in burglaries, car prowls and other types of thefts. Metz's message bears repeating and perhaps placed on billboards: Please lock your guns!
Everyone this morning spoke about the need to double down on youth crime and emphasize education as a counterweight to a culture of gun violence. Bolstering mental health options was also mentioned, but only to point out how complex solutions in that arena would be. But guns was the real target of today's announcement of combined federal and local firepower. Was it enough?
Achenblog by Joel Achenbach
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