We work with all 39 law enforcement agencies in King County to develop firearm violence reports.
These reports are the most comprehensive and consistent firearm violence analyses available in King County and are published on a quarterly basis. The reports help inform prevention and intervention strategies designed to reach individuals the data suggests are most at risk of firearm violence victimization. While we will continue to prosecute the perpetrators of firearm violence, we recognize that a broader, public health approach is required to achieve lasting reductions of firearm violence.
A public health approach to gun violence
In the context of illegal shootings from a public health approach, there are 3 questions that our Crime Strategies Unit (CSU) has been working to answer.
Who is being shot?
After several years of working closely with law enforcement, we now have a much more meaningful understanding of what illegal shootings look like across King County, including: what types of shootings are happening; where and when are they happening; and who are the victims and perpetrators. Continued and ongoing collection of this data will allow us to examine trends over time and develop responses that are informed by the most recent and reliable data possible.
Why are they being shot?
Research has consistently shown that firearm violence is intensely concentrated within small, identifiable social networks. Firearms violence spreads within these networks. The closer a person is to a victim of firearm violence, the more likely it is to be a victim of firearm violence themselves. Along with our law enforcement partners, CSU is using data to understand the networks of firearm violence in King County and to identify those individuals who are most at risk of victimization.
How can we prevent future shootings?
There is nothing new about using data analytics to identify individuals in harm’s way. Working with law enforcement, public health, and community partners, CSU is seeking to implement prevention and intervention programs. These are designed to reach those individuals that the data indicate are most at risk of becoming gunshot victims. While we will continue to prosecute the perpetrators of illegal shootings, we recognize that a broader public health based approach is required to achieve lasting reductions of firearm violence.