Sacramento, Calif.- by Robert J Hansen
A coalition of criminal justice organizations released a letter urging California Gov. Gavin Newsom to invest billions more in crime prevention to address the spike in violence
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar, other elected leaders and criminal justice reform advocates stood together calling on the Governor to invest $3 billion towards addressing the root causes of crime and violence prevention.
“I just have nothing but empathy for people who were hurt, family members whose loved ones were killed and anybody who had to witness all of this,” Steinberg said at a press conference hours earlier. “I also believe that our first responders, our police and fire department acted admirably and heroically trying to provide life saving care to those they thought could survive. I think they did a really good job.”
At that press conference, Mayor Steinberg addressed the shooting saying the events of Sunday morning were the result of a gang war and a gang shooting while calling on the City to also provide more funding.
“And I suppose that isn't surprising to me because I sort of suspected that might be the case,” Steinberg said.
Steinberg said the City has invested over the last year, almost $3 million dollars in direct gang prevention initiatives.
“I am going to take before the city council a request for a significant increase in gang violence prevention dollars,” Steinberg said. “We have great community based organizations. The Mervin Brookins of the world that are out there working, Brother to Brother and other organizations working to diffuse conflict and working to avoid gunfights and tragedies and they're doing a lot of good work. You know I've been saying over the last couple of days with the investments we've made and the relationship we have between ourselves, our police department and our community based organizations, it's hard to know how many additional shootings we actually have prevented.”
Steinberg thinks the City is on the right trajectory but needs to elevate and enhance the funding for gang intervention.
Police Chief Kathy Lester told the Mayor that in 2021 the police department confiscated over 1600 firearms that were in the wrong hands.
“There are some issues that are beyond our jurisdiction and control. But like everyone I have some very serious questions about how the alleged suspects who have been arrested thus far, with the lengthy records of violent behavior found themselves out on the streets of Sacramento,” Steinberg said. “Those questions need to be asked and answered.”
He said he hopes the City begins to see the results of the $8.1 million investment made weeks ago with American Rescue Plan dollars to help the downtown and other commercial corridors be cleaner and safer.
“I know that in the downtown area that over the coming weeks we expect those dollars to result in additional physical security in additional lighting, additional security cameras, additional presence,” Steinberg said. “So that people can come downtown and have a great experience and that's what we want and that's what we are going to continue to fight for. We’re fighting for our city here. These events happen all around the country but now the spotlight is on us. You can either retreat and hide from it or you can dig deep and elevate what we’re already doing.”