King City has won the 2019 Helen Putnam Award in the category of Public Safety for its Comprehensive Plan to End Youth Violence. The announcement was made at the opening ceremonies of the League of California Cities Annual Conference at the Long Beach Convention Center, which is attended by officials from cities throughout California. Established in 1982 by the League of California Cities, the Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program recognizes outstanding achievements by California’s 482 cities. According to the League of California Cities, “winning cities have made unique contributions to community residents and businesses, contributions which have resulted in lower costs or more effective delivery of services.”
In response to several years of serious gang violence problems, the City Council appointed a community task force in 2016 to develop what became the City’s Comprehensive Plan to End Youth Violence. The Plan includes 24 measures under the categories of Prevention, Intervention, Enforcement, Re-Entry and Public Outreach. The City implemented 19 of the measures within the first year and a half through a series of partnerships, including an extensive after-school program, youth diversion program, security camera system, major crimes unit, on-campus probation officer program, drug and alcohol recovery center, and district officer and block party programs. The efforts have resulted in a substantial drop in crime and decrease in shootings from 32 in 2017 to zero since February 2018.