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Everett Mayor takes on youth and gang violence with first directive

FILE photo (KOMO Photo)

EVERETT, Wash. - Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin outlined a plan Thursday to combat youth and gang violence in her first directive since taking office earlier this month.

Franklin held a press conference with Police Chief Dan Templeman, where they discussed efforts to prevent and intervene in gang violence moving forward.

Gang-related offenses in Everett spiked 75 percent during the first 11 months of 2017, according to Templeman. And of the 80 arrests in cases coded as "gang-related" from January through October, 84 percent were age 21 or younger.

The increased violence led police to add patrols to areas of South Everett including Casino Road.

The directive announced Thursday includes six initiatives that should take shape in the coming months.

Firstly, the city plans to launch a pilot program to prevent youth from becoming involved in gangs and offer alternative options for those already living that life.

Franklin called for the creation of a Gang Response Unit within the police department to continue focusing efforts on gang and youth violence in parts of South Everett. Templeman says they will add even more resources and patrols to parts of the city facing violence in the coming months.

The city will also create a gang advisory group with community members to act as a sounding board for city hall and police.

Franklin also hopes to launch a firearm safety campaign designed to encourage safe storage of legally owned firearms, to keep them from being stolen in burglaries, thefts and car prowls, and then later used in other crimes.

The city says it plans to use existing resources to pay for these initiatives, though the mayor has asked her team to explore local, state and federal funding to sustain these initiatives and support other efforts in the fight against gang and youth violence.

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