King County Council proposes $1.4M budget amendment to curb gun violence

King County officials have proposed emergency budget amendments meant to reduce gun violence after shootings last week in Seattle’s Central District and Pioneer Square neighborhoods and in nearby White Center that killed four people and injured two others.

King County Executive Dow Constantine unveiled the "urgent" budget proposal on Tuesday, reported.

It includes $1.47 million in investments to address the increase in gun violence through "data-driven identification of the groups and neighborhoods at the highest risk of being involved in a shooting, increased community engagement, and increasing community staffing with employees to connect community members to services and support opportunities."

"Stopping the gun violence ... requires more than just a criminal justice response — it requires the upstream, public health-based interventions we know can help unwind conflict and prevent future tragedies," Constantine said in a news release.

There have been 253 shots fired incidents in the county in 2021, with 16 fatal shootings and 53 injuries, data from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office shows. The office says shots fired incidents are up 25% this year compared to the four-year average, with fatal shootings up 36% over that same time period.

A breakdown of demographics found the shooting victims were predominately young men of color.

Seattle experienced a dramatic increase in homicides in 2020, but overall violent crime was slightly down for the year.

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