Regarding the Jan. 1 front-page article “Homicide rate down in much of region”:

Crime victims and their families and advocates would agree with Prince George’s County Police Chief Mark Magaw that “you can’t arrest your way out of crime problems. You’ve got to get at the core of what’s driving those issues.”

That’s what local law enforcement did by establishing a sustained focus on gun crimes, committing to juvenile justice programs that steer youth away from gangs and help them access the services they need to stay out of trouble, and providing critical services to crime victims. We hope that other communities will recognize that adopting similar strategies will help them reduce crime and stay safe.

It is critical to embrace these proven efforts at a time when even modest gun-control policies are controversial and not apt to pass legislatures, services for crime victims have been cut, and programs to assist in preventing youth violence are underfunded. We need policymakers to renew their focus on securing safer communities by embracing solutions that work.

Mai Fernandez, Washington

The writer is executive director of the National Center for Victims of Crime.