Central Brooklyn Violence Prevention Initiative To Launch After Uptick In Shootings

Central Brooklyn Violence Prevention Initiative To Launch After Uptick In Shootings
Mayor de Blasio with Council Member Cornegy, clergy, and community members on a walk through Bed-Stuy. (Photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

BROOKLYN – The Mayor announced a new Central Brooklyn Violence Prevention plan today after an uptick in shootings.

This comes after a weekend of violence across the city, which had brought a total of 28 shooting incidents, close to half of which took place in Brooklyn. On Monday, shootings happened just minutes apart from each other. This morning, six people were shot in Crown Heights; one of them died. A march against gun violence took place today at 9 a.m. where some people walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and to City Hall. Several marches are expected to take place over the weekend.

“Here’s what you see all over New York City – New Yorkers determined, determined to bring this city back from the coronavirus crisis, determined to get our city started again, determined to keep our streets safe,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “Wherever I go, I meet New Yorkers who are standing up taking back their streets, making clear to everyone that their neighborhood is their neighborhood, it will be a safe place for everyone.”

What’s the Mayor’s plan? Effective this Friday, he announced, there will be:

  • An increased police presence in the 77th and 79th precincts in Crown Heights and Bed- Stuy.
  • Occupy the hot spots Friday and Saturday in 7 locations.
  • Peace marches by community and clergy.
  • Open Streets resource fairs: info on housing, jobs, youth services.
  • Mobile trauma units: critical mental health and support services.

“This plan has a two-fold core to it. One, increased targeted NYPD mobilization. Two, community mobilization, community members, community leaders, community organizations out in the streets, making their presence felt, reaching young people in new ways,” de Blasio said. “We have seen this in recent days the power of this approach. We saw in just the last few days after tragedy residents, leaders of Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, Save Our Streets, the extraordinary Cure Violence organization, SOS Bed-Stuy out there leading people, showing them there was a better way.”

Along with the additional police officers deployed in Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights, there will also be a strong presence of community members out on the streets. It is to note that there are very few Open Streets in Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights.

“You’re going to see a lot of clergy out there this weekend. You’re going to see a lot of resources provided for young people,” he said. “You’re going to see efforts to reach young people in new ways with a host of things they need, because a lot of this is providing our young people hope and opportunity after months of dislocation and trauma that they’ve gone through with the coronavirus. You’re going to see mobile trauma units out to provide that mental health support to people who need it in communities that have been hit so hard.”

Council Member Robert Cornegy Jr. agrees and says the program is absolutely necessary.

“While NYPD is doing their job, we intend to, as a community, do what we believe to be our job, which is to provide opportunity, sustainable movement for our communities,” he said. “We’ve gone through stop-and-frisk, which – the dismantling of stop-and-frisk. We were told that that would make a lawless city and it did not. We actually, as the Mayor mentioned, had become the safest city, and we refuse to go back.”

“On the north side of Bed Stuy, we have a Jobs Plus program that works with the housing developments that are on that side… and have made a difference and we want to extend that difference to the entire Bedford Stuyvesant,” he continued. “So where there is an uptick in crime, we’re going to have an uptick in services and really flood those areas with the necessary services.”

“What we understand is that while there are depraved individuals that are pulling the trigger, society is responsible for the bullets that were loaded into that gun,” he said. “What we want to do is make sure that we can begin to dismantle these guns by providing services.”

According to Ife Charles, the Director of Anti-Violence Projects and Capacity Building at the Center for Court Innovation, this is a time for everyone to step up.

“Over the past couple of days, we’ve had meetings and we’ve had marches, what we’ve done in our communities to bring awareness to put the guns down and for our communities to become safe once again,” Charles said. “You know, someone said about taking back, we never lost it, right. So, that is my attitude. We have never lost our communities and it is our responsibility, as residents, to participate.”

She noted that the weekend will be spent with marches throughout the neighborhoods. There will be one in Bed-Stuy where the one-year-old baby boy was killed. And there will be one tomorrow at 5:30 pm at 423 Gates Avenue.

“There is no reason for us to continue to have this violence,” she said. “…This problem can be erased. It is not something that is sustainable. It is not the way that we, as New Yorkers, should live. We should not continue to live in fear. And I think we have the solution. This is an opportunity for us to look at the models that are working. It’s an opportunity for us to utilize the people who’ve had lived and learned experiences and are willing to go back out there and have conversations with individuals.”