Little Rock city leaders announce new plan to address violent crime using federal recovery funds

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr., Little Rock Police Chief Keith Humphrey and other city officials announced a new comprehensive strategy to address violent crime in the city Wednesday.

The multi-faceted plan calls for increased spending across a number of different programs, including enhancing police pay and opening new city offices to address violence through non-police methods.

“The rise of violent crime that we’ve seen since the start of the pandemic has caused increased challenges,” Scott said during a news conference at City Hall. “We know this is not a problem that only our police can solve. This strategy must also involve community intervention.”

The mayor lauded work done by LRPD officers to try and reduce the growing amount of violent crime in the city before adding there is a need for 100 more officers. He is proposing a doubling of the department sign-on bonus, moving it from $5,000 to $10,000, as well as an extra step increase for LRPD officers during the 2022 budget year.

Humphrey said he planned to have the LRPD use multiple tactics against the rise in violent crime, including enhancing police visibility, using surveillance systems as a deterrence and targeting high-crime locations.

He also said the department would look at issues that lead to crime before someone breaks the law.

“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,” Humphrey explained.

According to LRPD’s weekly crime report from October 11, violent crimes are up 14 percent and homicides are up 33 percent compared to this time last year.

Another part of the plan is to have an Office of Neighborhood Safety, which would help develop targeted programming and focus on safety with citizens who don’t have a badge.

The new office would be part of the Department of Community Programs, and city officials said their plan would be funded in part by money from the federal American Rescue Plan Act, with the cash being spent on community intervention efforts.

The City Board of Directors has already approved $1.5 million of the American Rescue Plan money. Mayor Scott hopes to use this money for a community violent intervention specialist.

Little Rock has been allocated $37,713,401 in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, according to data from the Treasury Department.

This is separate from funding to the state of Arkansas, which was allocated just over $1.5 billion, Pulaski County, which was allocated $76,124,117, or even North Little Rock, which was allocated $16,769,719.

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