WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, Manhattan (WABC) -- New York City kicked off its Safe Summer NYC program Friday with the first of a series of anti-gun violence resource fairs, this one at the Polo Grounds Towers in Washington Heights.
Nearly all crime is up in the city year to year, with April shootings up 166% over April of 2020 and 84% year over year, and Safe Summer is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to end gun violence and bring the city back from the COVID-19 crisis.
To mitigate the recent uptick in gun violence, the Mayor's Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety is partnering with public housing developments to engage city residents and deter gun violence with increased safety awareness.
Patrons received resources that address family- and community-based violence, including children's services, mental health services, and COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.
The city hopes that letting people know about the resources available to them will help them navigate the times.
With a focus on the community, cops, and both courts and the justice system, Safe Summer has three distinct components: 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, Precise 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 a strong message to high-risk populations with the 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
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.
"If we can focus in on that group of people who are terrorizing our city we can have safety," he said. "We can get back to that record level of safety that we enjoyed before the pandemic."