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Burien working to parcel out money to fight gangs: ‘Prevention is a better resource’

BURIEN, Wash. - Q13 News has covered the issue of public safety and gang violence in South King County and in particular, the City of Burien, for several months now.

In one recent killing, a stray bullet from a gang related shooting went through a chiropractic office and took the life of 51-year-old Gabriela Reyes.

On Monday, the city council held a meeting to address budgetary issues including the enhancement of public safety.

Of the many agencies and non-profits that the city invests in each year, Mayor Jimmy Matta says two are really targeting the prevention of gang violence.

One is New Futures at Alturas, an agency that provides family support, which will likely receive $45,000 for the 2019-2020 budget year. The other is Para los Ninos, which focuses on mainly spanish speaking immigrant families, to develop leadership and civic engagement.  That group will likely receive $25,000.

"If we incarcerate children or adults, it costs us money," Matt said. "If we create programs and have prevention, it's going to cost us money. So, the question is what kind of cost do we want to have going forward here? I believe that prevention is really a better resource."

The city council also discussed possible new positions - and the funds to create them - including more police officers, Matta said.

He also said the city is reviving its youth council. Much like the city council, it will consist of about five teenagers, all focused on serious issues impacting our community like public safety.

Their job will be to encourage youth in the community to participate in the resolution of these issues.

The youth council is set to debut in November.