BROOKLYN, N.Y. (PIX11) – Despite a violent start to the summer in Brooklyn, including the recent shooting of a 14-year-old in a Brownsville playground, there is still a sense of hope. 

“Murders and shootings dropped in Brooklyn in 2021 … and we’re seeing that progress continuing during the first six months of this year,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.

During a policy speech, Gonzalez explained how his office is contributing to the citywide effort to find real solutions to gun violence.

“50% of the reduction in gun violence that’s happening in the city right now is happening in Brooklyn,” Gonzalez said.

Brooklyn prosecutors have a critical new tool that’s making a difference: a state-of-the-art digital evidence lab.

“We now work and overlay ShotSpotter, cellular geo locations, media mapping, some video surveillance, and social media analysts and novices to bring really unprecedented investigative resources to the fight against gun violence,” Gonzalez said.

Digital evidence lab investigations have led to 16 gun convictions. Gonzalez said each conviction is critical.

“It’s really a very small number of individuals, less than 1%, who are responsible for the most violent crimes in our community,” Gonzalez said.

In his comprehensive plan to end gun violence in Brooklyn, Gonzalez notes his office has a newly established ghost gun unit. They are hiring staffers to focus exclusively on solving gun crimes.

“We’re working with violence interrupters and different programs on the ground,” Gonzalez said.

In Brownsville, Camara Jackson founded Elite Learners Inc. They help resolve conflicts in Brownsville before they end in bloodshed. Teens are working for the program this summer to beautify the neighborhood and they are matched with mentors. Jackson said efforts like this to keep young people engaged are working.

“However, it’s not enough and community members don’t feel safe. Our job is nowhere near done,” Jackson said.