SEATTLE — The Seattle Police Department released its annual report on gun violence, and statistics show the number of shootings in 2019 is up from 2018.
KIRO 7 learned one of the causes is an increase in gang-related violence.
On Friday, Police Chief Carmen Best delivered the somber news about the past year at police headquarters.
“In 2019, Seattle saw an uptick in gun violence that was claiming lives, causing serious injuries and creating fear in our communities,” Best said.
Department records showed there were 332 shooting incidents in the city last year, an increase from 313 in 2018.
There were also five more fatal shootings year over year. The hot spots were in the North and South precincts, specifically along Aurora Avenue and Rainier Avenue.
Assistant Chief Deanna Nollette said the violence is often linked to gangs. “But we are seeing a nexus where the vast driving factors are gang violence, narcotics activity and some of the activity along the Aurora Corridor involving human trafficking.”
And looking at the start of 2020, it wasn’t long before there was a fatal shooting, which happened an hour and a half past into New Year’s Day. A suspect was arrested.
Although the news sounds bleak, Seattle police are solving 72% of the crimes, which is above the national average.
Officials told us their biggest issue is when gangs are disbanded. “The problem is whenever there’s a void, there’s often powers that come in and step into that void, so now we’re dealing with some new entities and some new players,” Nollette said.
Andre Taylor, a community organizer with Not This Time, said it will take grassroots solutions to cut to the core of the issues.
KIRO 7 found out that initiatives like community officers getting involved have helped.
“What I’m happy about is that the mayor realizes that people that are closest to the problem are closest to the solution,” Taylor said.