De Blasio Unveils Grassroots Plan To Curb Gun Violence: 'We Will Take Back Our Streets'

WCBS 880 Newsroom
July 10, 2020 - 11:37 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a plan Friday to curb a recent spike in gun violence in New York City, with a focus on community outreach.

De Blasio said gun violence has been a “big challenge in this city” the last few weeks. Last weekend alone, 11 people were killed and dozens wounded in shootings across the city.

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“This weekend coming up has to be better, particularly in Harlem, where we’re focusing a lot of our efforts to change the reality on the ground,” de Blasio said.

The mayor said members of his administration gathered with NYPD officials and about 50 leaders from the Harlem community to “think about a new grassroots approach to addressing the problem.”

“We will take back our streets in Harlem and all over our city, but we’re going to do it from the ground up,” the mayor said. “We’re going to do it with community leadership.”

The mayor said the plan requires police resources but also community leaders, community-based organizations and local clergy.

“It’s particularly important to reach our young people, who have gone through so much in these last months,” de Blasio said, adding that the city will work with the community to engage and hear the concerns of young people.

Starting Friday night, there will be an increased NYPD presence at key locations on over 20 streets and at NYCHA developments, but there will also be walks that include members of the NYPD and community leaders.

Cure Violence groups on the ground will also help combat crime and gun violence by de-escalating conflicts, the mayor said.

The Parks Department will work with community groups and the NYPD “to put on a host of activities this weekend and beyond to give young people positive alternatives.” Among the activities is pop-up basketball skills and drills event in Harlem hosted by local groups.

There's also a town hall for young people in Harlem next Friday.

Leading the efforts on the ground will be state Sen. Brian Benjamin and Iesha Sekou, CEO of Street Corner Resources.

“It has been a rough couple of weeks,” Benjamin said, adding that “more police does not necessarily mean more public safety.”

“A community-based approach, where we have the police and the community—clergy leaders and elected officials and everybody on the street—working together to protect our neighborhoods, protect our blocks, that is the key to our success,” Benjamin said.

Sekou said groups are encouraging members of the community to come out and become more active in the effort to curb violence.

“We’re going to be occupying the corner, and we’re going to start in Harlem,” Sekou said. “But we won’t just end in Harlem, we’re going to put more energy into occupying.”

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