King County Executive, Dow Constantine and the King County Board of Health have declared Friday, June 4 as King County Regional Community Safety and Well-being Day in recognition of the rising rates of gun violence in this region and the launch of a pilot program called the King County Regional Peacekeepers Collective (RPKC).
To commemorate the declarations and launch, the Regional Peacekeepers Collective is hosting two community events to increase awareness and provide community-based solutions to stop gun violence:
• Skyway Community Lock Box Giveaway
Friday, June 4 | 10 a.m. to noon | Grocery Outlet parking lot, 11656 68th Ave S.
• Kent Community Lock Box Giveaway
Friday June 4 | 2 to 4 p.m. | Kent City Hall Courtyard (walkway), 220 Fourth Ave. S.
At each event RPKC Partners & Zero Youth Detention staff will provide 100 residents with a lock box and information to safely store firearms.
Gun violence is an epidemic
Like COVID-19, youth gun violence is a fatal epidemic. It is clear from the data that community-based gun violence and firearm related homicide has continued to rise over the past several years (2017-2020). In 2021, King County is on course to set another deadly record for gun violence.
Black, LatinX, and Indigenous young people in King County are disproportionately being exposed to gun violence, not just as perpetrators, but as victims and bystanders as well. According to King County PAO Q1 2021 “Shots Fired” Data:
The total number of shots fired incidents in Q1 2021 (253) was up around 25% and the number of overall shooting victims (69) was up around 27% from the four-year average for Q1 2017-2020.
In Q1 2021 the number of fatal firearm homicide victims was up 36% while the number of non-fatal firearm injury victims was up 24% over the four-year average.
Of the 69 firearm shooting victims in Q1 2021, 80% were male; 42% were between the ages of 18-24; and 78% were people of color.
Black/ African American residents in King County are only 6.8% of the total population. Nevertheless, Black/ African American’s are the highest represented demographic, approximately 50%, for firearm homicide victims.
Firearm homicide rates are highest among Black, LatinX, and Indigenous males ages 18–24 in King County.
We have a historic opportunity to tangibly impact positive long-term change for those who need it most in this region.
Public Health – Seattle & King County, Zero Youth Detention (ZYD) is undergoing a 12 to 18-month planning process to develop a King County Regional Community Safety & Well-being Plan (RCSWP) to reduce firearm-related homicide and violence in this region.
While in the planning and development of a long-term regional plan, we must also do the work to prevent our young people from dying tonight. There is an immediate need for a responsive “Go-First” strategy to address the current increase in gun violence.
King County is launching the Regional Peacekeepers Collective to deliver supports and provide services for highest risk young people and families impacted most.
The RPKC Partners include: Alive & Free, Choose180, Community Passageways, Freedom Project, Progress Pushers, Renegades for Life Youth Outreach, and UW Harborview Medical Center.
The RPKC addresses violence using a public health approach that ensures the treatment and recovery of all people involved. Successful violence prevention strategies, informed public health approach, use common language, practices, protocols, and co-created accountability measures to provide a comprehensive model of care and support for the highest risk youth and their families.
Effective community violence intervention, prevention, and restoration (IPR) efforts that specifically serve youth are most successful when they provide wrap-around services and coordinated care. Under the unique banner of IPR, the Regional Peacekeepers Collective partners will organize collaboratively to provide:
• Rigorous intervention for those directly involved
• Secondary prevention for younger siblings
• Follow-up care and support for family restoration and healing
To learn more about the Regional Peacekeepers Collective and how you can partner with Zero Youth Detention to help co-create the Regional Community Safety and Well-being Plan, go to: https://zeroyouthdetention.com/communitysafety.