Cities claim officer, social worker embeds seeing success battling crime, helping homeless

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MARYSVILLE, Wash. – Several North Sound police agencies say they have been able to crack down on property crimes all while helping people experiencing homelessness and addiction get off the streets and into treatment.

The cities of Marysville and Arlington say the success is due to a program that embeds social workers with law enforcement – who then conduct outreach in homeless camps.

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office of Neighborhoods was founded in 2015 to help get people who wanted the help off the streets, into drug treatment programs and into housing and the impact appears to be substantial.

Now both the cities of Arlington and Marysville say they are seeing a significant decline in crimes ranging from theft to robberies.

Arlington’s police chief says in the first year their officers and social workers have made more than 900 encounters that resulted in engaging with 110 new clients.

The chief says that eventually lead to 33 people completing detox programs. There, police now say robberies and car thefts are down in the city.

Plus, Marysville police say they made 15-hundred contacts with people which exceeding the agency’s expectations. The city of Marysville says after it joined the program, calls for police service to the Smokey Point Walmart has declined by 24-percent.

While the office of neighborhood programs began 4 years ago, the north county unit has been up and running since 2018.

It is a pilot project and funding will have to be re-authorized when it ends in 2020.

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