2015 -2016 Implementation

A “rolling start” to coordination, community outreach, and sustaining the problem-solving approach developed in 2013-2014.

Initiative Implementation

The complex and multifaceted set of ABSPY youth crime prevention interventions developed in prior years is underway. The individual intervention programs began individually, as planning, contracting, and hiring processes allowed. This resulted in a “rolling start” with gaps in intervention activities. Here are a few examples of the development process for

  • Corner Greeters began in Summer 2014 as volunteer-managed, pop-up style events at each of the hotspots. The program was interrupted for nine months in order to plan, staff, and organize a more formal approach. Corner Greeters is now driven by local youth, supported by the RBAC.
  • Business Engagement implementation also involved gaps and several sequential steps, including a needs assessment survey, and the development of customized crime prevention education materials. These education resources supported  address-specific needs and alleviated the concerns of the individual business owners.
  • Safe Passage required time to hire and train the team of Community Safety Specialists. The program commenced in March 2015 and has had most continuous intervention activity.
  • Small Business Storefront Improvement and CPTED in public spaces proved to be the most complex interventions to launch. Both of these program achieved full implementation in late 2016.

Coordination and Community Outreach

The Core Team, including ABSPY research partner GMU-CEBCP, continues to be actively engaged in the current implementation phase of the initiative. The Team meets monthly, holds and annual review, and team building retreats.

A separate Intervention Team, consisting of the contractors and community-based organizations responsible for implementing the interventions and also meets monthly to discuss progress and concerns related to implementation and to integrate ABSPY interventions with other neighborhood activities to optimize efforts to reduce crime that affects youth. Meetings for both teams, as well as management our initiative’s website and ongoing community outreach efforts is facilitated by the Seattle Neighborhood Group Project Coordinator.

  • Sustaining the work: Knowing it took time to launch the comprehensive set of community-led, non-arrest interventions and that it would take longer than initial federal funding period to achieve lasting results, the ABSPY Core Team and community partners worked to secure funding from the City of Seattle to continue full intervention activity and sustain the coordination framework that bring partners together and maintains the focus of resources on the “hotspots” through 2018. Evaluation activities will also continue through 2018 to track impacts and identify causal effects in the ABSPY initiative.

The ABSPY Core Team continues to identify additional funding opportunities to extend and/or expand upon the strong network of partnerships and interventions in Rainier Beach. In particular, the City of Seattle has partnered with Seattle Public Schools and the community at the Rainier Beach campus on an initiative called Rainier Beach: Beautiful! to implement Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS) in 5 Rainier Beach Schools and community through a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. This PBIS intervention will expand in 2017 with a $3.8 million dollar grant from the National Institute of Justice Comprehensive School Safety Initiative to develop the Rainier Beach Campus Safety Continuum, an evidence-informed approach to addressing school and community safety while reducing racial disparity in school discipline and police contact. This project builds upon RB:ABSPY place-based crime prevention strategies and expands our PBIS intervention strategy by adding school-based restorative justice programs and creating a continuum of positive support for youth within and outside of school.

2013-14 Systematic community-led problem-solving

The DOJ required a year-long planning process.

We assembled a task force for each of the five juvenile crime hot spots comprised of over 100 community members who had a deep attachment to that particular hot spot. Community task force members live, work, worship, own businesses, commute, attend school, etc. at these hot spot locations.

Our research partners from GMU provided each task force with all of the 2012 crime data for each hot spot. We followed a research-based community-problem-solving process, and we put a strong emphasis on diverse participation. Each meeting included translation into multiple languages and fun team-building activities that inspired deeper connections with one another.

Creative data gathering

Rainier Beach: A Beautiful Safe Place for Youth partnered with United Story in a creative community engagement activity called “Breaking the Pane”. For one week in April 2014 United Story community volunteers staffed 10 outdoor workshops (2 at each of the five hotspots) and interacted with over 120 community members, many youth and young adults, to share stories about their perceptions of identity, community and youth violence through dialogue and drawing.

Residents and business owners also participated in preparing Community Appearance Surveys as an opportunity to take a closer look and “inventory” the physical condition of the hotspot focus areas prior to implementing interventions.

The qualitative data gathered through these creative approaches was used by the Community Task Force (CTF) to inform youth crime prevention strategies at the same time the interactions and connections made through the workshops and surveys will hopefully help nurture opportunities for more community-owned action.

2012 City helps Rainier Beach secure federal grant

Community members from Rainier Beach had attended the City Council’s presentations regarding crime hot spots in 2011. So, when they created the Neighborhood Plan Update for Rainier Beach in 2012, the community members indicated that they wanted to try a hot spots approach to reducing crime in Rainier Beach.

Based on the community request included in the Rainier Beach Neighborhood Plan Update, the Office of City Auditor, the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, and George Mason University (GMU) applied for and received a nearly $1 million Byrne Innovation grant from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to address five juvenile crime hot spots in Rainier Beach through a community-led non-arrest approach.

The City then partnered with the Seattle Neighborhood Group to provide overall coordination for the planning and implementation of the project.

2011 City Council inspires community action

The Seattle City Council hosted several large public meetings to share new research on how crime in Seattle is highly concentrated in small geographic areas, called hot spots.

The research showed that crime concentrations were stable in those hot spots over a 14-year period.

Further, the research suggested that efforts to change the characteristics of those hot spots (e.g., improve guardianship, increase eyes on‐ he street, etc.) could be a more effective approach to reducing crime at those locations than arresting individuals.

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