Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott, Jr., Chief Keith Humphrey of the Little Rock Police Department and representatives of the Department of Community Programs, announced Wednesday a comprehensive violence reduction strategy for the City of Little Rock.
“The rise of violent crime that we’ve seen since the start of the pandemic has caused increased challenges,” said Scott. “We know this is not a problem that only our police can solve. This strategy must also involve community intervention.”
Scott applauded the work of police, which accounted for an overall 70 to 80 percent arrest rate. But he also stressed that the department needs more support, proposing to double the sign-on bonus offered for new police recruits from $5,000 to $10,000 in addition to an added step increase for officers in the 2022 budget.
Humphrey, in announcing strategies the police department will use, noted that the trend toward high crime rates is a national issue and not limited to Little Rock. He outlined a multi-point effort of law enforcement to curtail violent crime which will include: increased police visibility, deterrence through surveillance, and an enforcement strategy that identifies and targets crime networks and places prone to crime, all while also expanding services, including social services, that seek to address the underlying environmental issues that lead to crime.
“In any city, violent crime is caused by a combination of social, structural, and environmental conditions, therefore in order for this plan to be effective, there must be an active participation and investment by everyone in this city,” he said.
Michael Sanders outlined existing and future programs that will be organized under a newly formed Office of Neighborhood Safety within the Department of Community Programs. These programs and services, including youth outreach services as well as re-entry and job placement services, will be funded by existing city resources and dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act. The City will accept Requests for Proposals today through the next several weeks.