Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist unveiled a community-focused policing initiative Tuesday.
Sundquist said there is a perception in the community that there has been an increase in crime and violence in the city, which he said isn’t the case.
According to the 2022 Public Safety Annual Report, crimes involving a firearm increased over 30% with overall crime increasing 3.5% in the City of Jamestown last year.
Sundquist said some numbers have gone down for the first part of 2023 through the end of May, “Crimes against persons has decreased 1.2% Gun related offenses have decreased by 45%, and confirmed shootings have decreased by four incidents. And something that I’m very proud of, a lot of organizations that are here helping us, domestic violence cases have decreased by 9%.”
Sundquist said under the initiative called “Safer Jamestown N.O.W. – Neighbors On Watch,” the city plans to commit additional resources to revitalize neighborhood watches, “We want to make sure that our residents are not only protected by our police, but by our neighbors. That’s the whole idea about community and neighborhood. We also want to work and partner with our faith-based organizations, our community groups, and Jamestown Public Schools to provide violence interruption programs in our community, mentoring and employment programs for our kids.”
Jamestown Police Chief Tim Jackson said the city has been awarded $261,000 in Gun Involved Violence Elimination, or GIVE, program funding this year. He said this is three times the usual amount funded in previous years. Sundquist said some of the funding will go toward youth diversion programs.
He said the Human Rights Commission will be holding community meetings to help develop more responsive city-wide programs.
Sundquist added that a City Public Information Officer also will be hired to provide updates on initiatives, connect with the community, and support the Police Department. The position would be funded through a $150,000 grant through the Federal Communications Commission that the city is receiving to do community outreach about the federal government’s Affordable Connectivity Program. If approved by City Council this month, the position would be contractual and be in place for two years.