One anti-gun violence plan in San Diego asks gangs to stop shooting each other. The “No Shots Fired” program plans to negotiate a cease fire with the city’s local gangs for six months. While this may sound strange, it’s actually a better idea than just jamming more gun laws through. But can it work? That’s the question.
No Shots Fired is a collaboration between the Commission on Gang Prevention and Intervention, the Community Assistance Support Team, law enforcement and other city partners. Community organizations will be tapped to reach an agreement with gangs in areas most affected by violent crime, such as Southeastern San Diego, to agree to a cease fire for a six-month period.
“This is an important day for investing in and prioritizing public safety for our communities of concern,” said [City Council member Monica Montgomery] Steppe, who is chair of the council’s Committee on Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods. “After years of disinvestment and the corresponding impacts of community violence, the No Shots Fired Program is a step in the right direction to provide a policy solution that quells violence, promotes economic justice, and improves community policing relationships.”
No Shots Fired
According to San Diego’s Chief of Police, David Nisleit, gun violence rose 28% and homicides 10% in 2020. Gang members have been responsible for roughtly 20% of the gun calls. The San Diego police are providing a Community Oriented Policing grant of $40,000 to get the program off to a good start. (CBS8) San Diego had a similar program about 10 years ago, but it is unclear if it was effective in any way.
The program includes:
- Community walks
- Street side memorial services
- Faith sponsored “peace meals” and organized outreach
- Cease fire agreements with gang leaders
- Wrap-around services in-person
- Virtual meetings with gang members to discuss seasons of peace
- Coordination with law enforcement
- Opportunities to receive living assistance funds
So if the program worked ten years ago, why is there still gang violence today? If it did not work, why are they trying it again? The answer to that may be something like ‘desperation is the mother of invention.’ San Diego prides itself on being a relatively safer major city with a lower crime rate than say, Los Angeles. That dynamic is why city officials are attempting this No Shots Fired program: police say that more and more gang members are carrying weapons now and the calls are going up.
It is doubtful that this program will have any major impact on gangs. There doesn’t appear to be much incentive to stop gang-related drug dealing, for example, since that nefarious activity brings in huge amounts of money. A six month “season of peace” is a high minded idea that may be destined to fail before it starts. We do hope it works. At any rate, good luck, San Diego.