Safe Communities


Reducing Homicides in our Community

The year 2017 will be remembered as one of the deadliest years in more than a decade. Too many of these homicides involved felony offenders using illegally possessed guns. As District Attorney, Spencer will increase emphasis on prosecuting illegal firearms possession by making sure our prosecutors take more of these cases to trial and seek stronger sentences.

Reducing illegal gun possession will certainly help us keep some families from losing their loved ones, but homicide is rooted in misplaced faith in violence as a means to resolve conflict. We must address this larger problem.

For example, in domestic violence cases, a batterer’s acts of violence typically grow more severe over time. Identifying and confronting a batterer’s early, less severe act of violence, like a shove or a slap, presents an opportunity to intervene,  to prevent more violent acts later, and, ultimately, to save a life. 

This is true for anyone who chooses violence to resolve conflict. Spencer will make sure our prosecutors actively look for chances to seek violence intervention alternatives. A stronger violence diversion program that emphasizes healthy conflict resolution is key to a long-term strategy of reducing homicides.


Violent Crimes Team To Focus On Gun Crimes

Keeping our neighborhoods safe is a top priority.
— Spencer Merriweather, District Attorney

A steady increase in violent crime, including shootings and armed robberies, poses an even more pervasive threat to public safety than just a spike in homicides. Street-level drug sales, gang turf battles and underground internet commerce have resulted in more of our young people being victimized by violence. To address this issue, in his first month as District Attorney, Spencer created the Violent Crimes Team to tackle these types of crimes that have created a backlog of cases and robbed of us of our sense of security.

As District Attorney, Spencer will focus more prosecutors and trial time on shootings and armed robbery cases. He will explore increased use of sentence enhancements for the use of firearms in violent crime prosecutions. Spencer will seek increased coordination with federal prosecutors in cases where it appears acts of violence are part of a larger criminal enterprise.


Focusing On Residential Property Crimes

Prosecutors must do what we can to deter crime that violates our sense of peace and safety in our homes and neighborhoods.
— Spencer Merriweather, District Attorney

Breaking into a home can forever rob victims of their sense of safety and security. A single residential burglary can cause fear and anxiety within a family for a lifetime. Victims frequently struggle to get current information about their cases. Spencer will devote more resources to keeping victims informed about the status of their cases.

Spencer will devote special attention to residential property crimes. Many who commit these crimes are first-time or infrequent offenders, whose behavior can be corrected through crime diversion. Spencer will continue to consider alternative sentencing options for such offenders. But for repeat offenders who habitually commit residential and automobile break-ins, he will encourage use of enhanced sentencing.