New City Council Initiative Funds $4.8 Million in Targeted Pilot Programs Aimed at Saving Lives

New York, NY— Today, the Task Force to Combat Gun Violence announced the Anti-Gun Violence Initiative, a new set of City Council programs which will receive a total of $4.8 million in funding for Fiscal Year 2013. The announcement comes as the Council prepares to pass the citywide budget, meeting a key benchmark set by the Task Force when it first launched last September for supporting a series of tangible solutions aimed at reducing gun violence across New York City and promoting positive alternatives for young people. This will be the only new Council initiative in the Fiscal Year 2013 budget.

“The Anti-Gun Violence Initiative is a breakthrough first step in our fight to save our youth from the gun epidemic that is claiming their lives,” said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn), co-chair of the Task Force. “The members of the Task Force worked hard this year on sharing best practices and identifying innovative solutions that can turn our communities away from violence and towards prosperity. I thank them and Speaker Quinn for their dedication to this essential effort. Our reward will hopefully be the sons and daughters of this city who we see walking our safer streets, rather than lying on them. Still, we have so much further to go in our efforts to see safer streets for all New Yorkers.”

In its first year, the Anti-Gun Violence Initiative will initiate pilot programs in five of the city’s most at-risk police precincts: the 32nd Precinct covering Harlem, the 40th Precinct covering the South Bronx, the 75th Precinct covering East New York, the 113th Precinct covering southeastern Jamaica and the 120th Precinct covering the North Shore of Staten Island. Efforts that will be funded this year include crisis intervention, therapeutic and legal services, conflict mediation and violence prevention in schools and youth and community development.

“As Co-Chair of the Task Force to Combat Gun Violence, I am proud to announce that we will be implementing this Anti-Gun Violence Initiative,” said Council Member Fernando Cabrera, co-chair of the Task Force. “It is a comprehensive system and plan that combats gun violence, which is often prevalent among gang members and within the drug trade. This initiative will help us assess practices that will curb the increase of shootings we have seen city-wide and will serve as the foundation for the expansion of practical and effective solutions to gun violence in our communities.”

In her State of the City address in January, Speaker Quinn announced the creation of Youth SHIELD (Safe Havens, Improved Environments, Local Development), a program inspired by the Task Force under which community leaders would receive assistance in fixing up areas which invite crime.
The Task Force was created in response to rising gun violence statistics citywide, which were highlighted by a rash of shootings over last year’s Labor Day weekend. Co-Chairs Cabrera and Williams have focused on examining the root causes behind this violent behavior and identifying from where illegal firearms are coming into this city. The interdisciplinary approach employed experts, including scholars, activists and community leaders, to weigh the impact of factors such as poverty, education and unemployment as well as anecdotal evidence to help determine how safe residents truly feel in their neighborhoods.