‘Safe Summer NYC’: City launches plan to end gun violence; forms partnership with cops, community, courts

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NYPD police cruiser

File photo of an NYPD police cruiser (PIX11 News)

NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a plan Tuesday to help New York City recover and end gun violence. 

Under the Safe Summer NYC initiative, the city will work to deter gun violence with real consequences for picking up a firearm and create disincentives to turning to a life of crime by providing real, positive alternatives for young people. 

Despite seeing overall crime in the five boroughs down 11% year-to-date compared to last year, New York City has seen an uptick in shooting incidents. For the month of March 2021, there were 492 gun arrests citywide, a 66.8% compared to March 2020, according to the NYPD.

“We know that investing in neighborhoods is crucial to safety. We know that investing in our young people makes a huge difference. We know that neighborhood policing works,” Mayor de Blasio said. “An essential part is bringing the community and police together.”

The plan is driven by the cooperation between the community, cops and the courts, the mayor added.

Components include increased investment in communities, strategic police presence in targeted areas and greater coordination across the justice system. 

Community: Investing in neighborhoods

  • Double Cure Violence workforce across 31 sites
  • Double Summer Youth Anti-Violence employment slots from 800 to 2000, both during the summer and throughout the year 
  • Launch Operation Safe Parks and Gang-Free Zones—a partnership between the NYPD and community stakeholders—to provide safe, protected places for people to congregate free from violence and with peace-of-mind
  • Host Saturday Night Light games at 100 sites citywide
  • Completely refurbish 15 basketball courts at NYCHA developments by August, as well as four basketball courts and a new soccer pitch at Colonel Charles Young Park in Harlem by July
  • Increase Tip Rewards up to $5,000 Drive Community Engagement  
  • Hold anti-violence fairs in 30 neighborhoods across the city

Cops: Strategic deployments to targeted areas

  • Precise police presence to prevent gun violence by targeting gangs and crews with a focus on the 100 blocks with the highest rates of gun violence
  • Enhance patrol strength ahead of summer by shifting approximately 200 officers from administrative assignments to key areas 
  • Strengthen federal partnerships embedded with NYPD to perform rapid tracing of firearms used in crimes and prevent the proliferation of illegal guns on city streets
  • Expand the Community Solutions Program, a strategy that uses community-based organizations, City services, and NYPD response to connect community members to resources and improve their neighborhoods
  • Expand ShotSpotter by 8.78 square miles
  • Re-Launch Ceasefire, a program that uses credible messengers to deliver strong message to high-risk populations with goal of decreasing violence without increasing arrests and incarceration 
  •  Launch a Gun Buyback Advertising Campaign 

Courts: Coordinate across the Justice System 

  • Work with the Courts to implement its comprehensive plan to expand in-person operations
  • Launch a collaboration between DAs, NYPD and MOCJ to mobilize resources focused on the most serious gun cases.
  • Unveil the NYC Joint Force to End Gun Violence—composed of members of NYPD, Cure Violence providers, District Attorney offices, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, City agencies, local community groups and law enforcement organizations—to bring an individualized, sustained focus on likely shooters. The Joint Force will launch in Queens and soon expand citywide
  • Create enhanced services and supervision for pretrial defendants for gun possession cases, which must be matched by State action to support more people on parole across the city

NYPD Chief of Department Rodney Harrison said as warmer months approach, the NYPD will need the help of the community.

Constant dialogue and communication over what issues nd how it can be fixed together will be more present, according to Harrison.

Kings County District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said that 1% of the population is responsible for 60-70% of the city’s most serious street violence, and if the city can focus on the groups who are “terrorizing” the city, there will be safety.

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz also praised the plan.

“We need to make sure that we reach down and that we bring up the next generation so that that next generation is not picking up the exact same guns and living that exact same life that we are working to hold others accountable for,” she said.

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