A major priority of the City of King is to end youth violence. In 2016, a community task force developed the City’s Comprehensive Plan to End Youth violence. The plan was implemented in 2017 and shootings decreased from 64 during the period of 2015 to 2017 to four during the period of 2018 to 2020.
The program included over 20 measures focused on prevention, intervention, enforcement, re-entry and community outreach. Some of the key items included an extensive after-school program, youth diversion program, drug and alcohol rehabilitation program, security camera system, and a number of community outreach programs. The City was recognized with the League of California Cities’ Helen Putnam Award for these efforts.
Despite this success, the City is now concerned with another increase in violent crimes experienced over the past year. As a result, the City is responding quickly and decisively with a number of expanded public safety measures to combat this problem.
First, the City Council recently allocated over $400,000 to implement Phase III of the citywide security camera system, which will be funded primarily from federal monies received. It will add 33 cameras and 117 views for a new total of 92 cameras citywide and 257 views. The new cameras will focus primarily on parks, schools and problem areas. New technology enabling rapid searches of video footage will also be added.
Second, to further expand security camera coverage, the City has implemented a Residential Security Camera Grant Program. Residents can apply for grants up to $200 to help cover the costs of purchasing and installing private camera systems. Contact the Police Department at 831-386-5944 or visit the Police section of the City’s website kingcity.com under “Documents and Forms” to apply.
Third, the Police Department is implementing a comprehensive state-of-the-art new technology system to improve efficiency, effectiveness, safety and accountability. The system provides a wide range of integrated capabilities, including an automated records management and reporting system; a sophisticated evidence management system; a synchronized body, vehicle mounted and weapons camera system; a less lethal smart weapon system; an air drone system; and virtual reality training.
Fourth, staffing adjustments and overtime have been approved to expand investigation efforts involving crimes during the past year, as well as cases still open dating back many years.
Fifth, the City continues to work with school leaders and nonprofit organizations to expand the youth violence prevention programs under way.
Finally, the City is continuing to identify additional revenue strategies to further expand efforts, particularly proposals to create a new expanded gang detail and a wide variety of new community outreach efforts. A proposal for an additional 1/2-cent sales tax was presented to the City Council at its last meeting with the intent of utilizing a portion of the revenue to invest in additional public safety measures. The Council will vote on whether to place the measure on the November ballot at its June 14 meeting.