SAN DIEGO — Following a deadly weekend, and an overall increase in gun violence city wide, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria unveiled a new pilot program called "No Shots Fired." It's designed to prevent violence by providing outreach and services to known gang members.
According to San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit, in 2020, the city saw a 28 percent rise in gun violence and a 10 percent increase in homicides. "Our officers are encountering more individuals with firearms in their possession each day, " Nisleit said.
The uptick is part of a nationwide trend, with some pointing to the pandemic as a contributing factor.
"Too many of us have been forced to accept violence as a regular part of our daily lives and as Mayor, I'm not willing to accept this," San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said. "San Diegans can not accept this and we must work together to change this."
Launched Wednesday, the "No Shots Fired" pilot program is designed to prevent violence before it starts.
Instead of solely relying on the justice system, it's a collaborative effort between the police department, faith leaders and community-based organizations.
Gang members will be identified and given the opportunity to get out of that lifestyle.
Some of the tactics used will include:
- 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
There's also a scholarship component as well as opportunities to receive financial support with living expenses.
Council Member Monica Montgomery Steppe said, “We know that a lack of economic opportunity is one of the challenges to promoting peace in our neighborhoods. We also know it is not a quick fix to correct years of intentional disinvestment in our communities of concern.”
A similar program was in place here 10 years ago, so the techniques aren't new, but the current need is.
Bishop Cornelius Bowser shared this message to those contributing to the violence: “If you need someone to throw you a lifeline to help you get on the right path, we are here right now to support you….willing to work with you to keep you out of prison, keep you out of the hospital and keep you out of the grave.”
SDPD is providing a $50,000 grant to get this program off the ground, with the hope of making it permanent after the initial pilot stage.
WATCH: Checking in with new San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria: