LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Some city leaders we spoke to today say we’re past the point of prevention and what’s going on in Little Rock is a full-blown crisis.
Little Rock City Director, Ward 2 Ken Richardson says the answer to fixing the problem isn’t hiring more police.
“We can’t police our way out of this,” Richardson said. “It’s not gonna happen.”
Rather, he says, it starts with bringing back what he calls “crisis intervention response teams.”
“Engage with people who can help resolve these minor conflicts,” Richardson said.
People who go into the streets who can really relate to the community and help young people who have nothing but time on their hands.
“We have a number of young people out here who are disconnected, unemployed, underemployed, and have access to weapons,” said Richardson.
Richardson says he’s not sure the city’s Prevention, Intervention and Treatment, or PIT funds are reaching the right people: 18 to 25-year-olds who are just disconnected.
“Not prepared educationally, not prepared socially, not prepared professionally,” Richardson said.
He says what’s happening now reminds him of the gang violence in the 90s.
He says these crisis programs worked back then and they can work again.
“We had people out here in the community intervening with these crises, these conflicts long before they devolve into these idiotic criminal activities,” said Richardson.
So, what’s stopping it?
“But until we started letting politics interfere with the funding of these programs, then that interrupted what I thought was a real successful model we had in place,” Richardson said.
Earlier today, Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. tweeted saying most of the 27 homicides from this year relate to illegal guns and domestic violence.
His office clarified the term “domestic violence” to mean just people who know each other, which is similar to what Richardson said: people who know each other who don’t know how to solve conflicts without violence.