The challenge now is to figure out how to sustain the early reduction in the crime that has coincided with the institution of Ceasefire. Four keys, according to Stewart Wakeling: Ensure Office of Violence Prevention is well-designed, institutionalize Ceasefire in city government, align the Peacekeeper program with Ceasefire and commit to the use of data. Wakeling is a Ceasefire expert. He said Ceasefire has been tried 13 different times and been successful 12 times. He said the likelihood that is just dumb luck is very low.
Police Chief Eric Jones: “We really have been dealing with 20 violent groups. We’ve identified them and have been concentrating on them. We have had 238 arrests associated with those groups when they are not heeding the message.” Jones said the Office of Violence Prevention is being designed. It’s part of the Marshall Plan. “It’s a data-driven, strategic, partnership-based model,” Jones said.
Jones said mentoring is very important. He said the Office of Violence Prevention “could be a model to be seen around the nation. A subsequent agenda item is forthcoming.” He said, “This one year update shows we’re on track.”
Jones said the hiring of an additional 120 officers is being fast-tracked, as is design of the Office of Violence Prevention. “We hope to have people hired, in positions, and starting the work of the Office of Violence Prevention as early as July of 2014.”
Ralph Womack, who heads the Ceasefire program, said many of the gang members are “generational.” He added, “Breaking that cycle is very difficult.” But he also said he is hopeful because Ceasefire was successful when implemented from 1997-2002 in Stockton. Womack said, “We took our eye off the ball. … We know it works. We’re on the right path. Now it’s a matter of, ‘Can we sustain it?’” He said it has to be “a long-term commitment.”
Councilman Elbert Holman said the city “can’t arrest itself” out of its crime problems. He added, “We’re only dealing with a small part of the community. I believe that it’s fixable.”
Jones said the police department will be needing some funding to continue Shotspotter.
Here’s some video of Police Chief Eric Jones’ presentation: