New initiatives in the Bronx focusing on safer communities

SOUTH BRONX, Bronx (WABC) -- New and even expanding initiatives in the Bronx are focusing greater attention on safer communities by getting out in front of crime.

One of the newer programs is 'Saturday Night Lights,' drawing young people to community places and gyms, and off the streets. The Bronx DA's office is partnering with the Police Athletic League and the city in the community.

"Our mission is public safety, and if you make that your true mission, then everything that works is something that the office should be doing," says Division Chief Kerry Chicon.

The DA's office is the strategic enforcement division headed by Chicon. A former Manhattan prosecutor, she came to the office two years ago to head a side of the office few people know about.

"Prevention is not something that doesn't belong in a prosecutor's office. We would like to prevent any crimes before we have to prosecute them," said Chicon.

Chicon is credited with building a first of its kind community-assisted camera mapping system - first in Manhattan, and now in the Bronx. Cameras allow the office to locate video from NYPD, NYCHA and private cameras.

"We are proactively asking for that cooperation and now if a crime is committed on a particular block in front of a particular store, we can reach out to that community member that we have a relationship with, and get the footage," Chicon added.

Analysts at the crime strategies unit can quickly locate the video from more than 1,000 different sites. They stress this is not Big Brother.

For that work, Chicon has been honored with the 2020 Robert Morgenthau Award, named for her former boss.

She also oversees one of the first technical investigation units and a digital forensic lab that focuses on retiring evidence from electronic devices.

The Crime Strategies Unit working with the NYPD is also focused on targeting crime hot spots and gang activity.

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