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Mayor pushes back on negative narrative

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Mayor Steve Adler is in combat mode, fighting the false narrative about who is responsible for increased crime downtown. It’s not about the homeless, no matter how many Twitter, Instagram or Facebook posts might say so to the contrary, he said at Tuesday’s City Council work session. He went on to describe a number of criminal incidents that did not involve the homeless, yet stirred up widespread anger and fear against that population. Speaking to Assistant Police Chief Joseph Chacón, Adler said. “I want us to stay ahead of that and I want us to permanently react to that to make sure that everyone in our community feels safe … if you can identify (more) things we can do to support your work, I want you to let us know.” Chacón responded, “What you said is exactly what happens. You have one incident that’s reported on social media and it catches fire. I think education is the key. I think we have a good communications strategy on how we are pushing out the message. … Really what reality is … when we’re looking at our violent crime incidents, especially in the downtown area, that a small minority of them involve an individual experiencing homelessness. What is driving that (violent crime) right now is gun crime. It is people that are not homeless and we’ve put things in place to begin to push that down.” The mayor posted the conversation on YouTube.

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