Annissa Essaibi-George seeks more funding for Boston Police, social workers to combat gun violence

Mayoral candidate Annissa Essaibi-George is calling for beefing up the police department and social services alike as part of her plans to combat gun violence in Boston.

Essaibi-George, currently a city councilor, said she would seek to “facilitate appropriate increases in staffing of Boston Police officers, social workers, and mental health clinicians (including Boston Emergency Services Team clinicians) to address the increases in gun violence.”

This is one of the points where she breaks with some of the other further left candidates in the race, who want to see funding removed from the police department in favor of other social services.

“While shootings on our streets and in our neighbors’ yards may not always make it on the evening news, those in our city, living this reality, know that there is an epidemic of gun violence in our neighborhoods,” Essaibi-George said in a statement. “The disproportionate rates of gun violence in communities of color is a result of systemic racism and the cycles of poverty, lack of opportunity, instability and trauma in our neighborhoods bearing the brunt of this epidemic.”

Essaibi-George plan also includes moving calls for traffic issues such as permit enforcement, blocked driveways and parking complaints to the Boston Transportation Department, rather than 911.

Similarly, the plan includes  alternative reporting mechanisms for “minor incidents to
allow more units on the street to be engaged in more community-policing efforts and proactive patrol.”

Essaibi-George, as she has before, noted several reforms the police department should undergo, including diversifying the force. She also called for bringing back the region’s gun summit to Boston, and creating neighborhood-specific plans for countering violence.

The plan also calls for continuing what’s gone on for years: strengthening community partnerships for anti-violence efforts, focusing on getting illegal guns off the street and beefing up other social programs aimed at mental health, racial inequities and jobs training.

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