New initiative aims to curb gun violence in central Brooklyn

Mayor Bill de Blasio with cure violence leaders in Bedford-Stuyvesant following the death of a one-year-old child.
Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

Amid a recent uptick in gun violence throughout Kings County, the city will launch the “Central Brooklyn Violence Prevention Plan” to combat the wave of shootings, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced at a press briefing on Wednesday.

“This is the way forward,” Hizzoner said. “Working with communities, by recognizing the leadership of community leaders, organizations, clergy, elected officials.”

The initiative — which comes after gunmen shot 53 people last weekend, including a one-year-old baby in Bedford-Stuyvesant — calls for an increased NYPD presence in Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant, and civilian “violence interrupters” stationed at seven hotspots in the neighborhood. While part of the plan, NYPD officials were not present at the mayor’s Wednesday briefing. 

City leaders will also set up “resource fairs” on pedestrianized streets in central Brooklyn to offer the borough’s youth free information on housing, jobs, and other services, along with “mobile trauma units” that will provide mental health and support services.

And to further stop the spate of violence, local clergies and community groups will host peace marches — which one Bedford-Stuyvesant legislator said would be a necessary step toward engaging the community and addressing the root causes of violence.

“We can handle this as a community, as a city, if we come together,” Cornegy said. “Where there is an uptick in crime we are going to have an uptick in services.”

Violence prevention groups like Save Our Streets Bedford-Stuyvesant will help lead the efforts toward combating the shootings, according to the organization’s deputy director, who said their organizers would be out in the community and on the front lines this weekend.

“Our goal this weekend is to be out there Friday and Saturday, to saturate the community with the violence interrupters and outreach workers and all the members of the cure violence team,” said Ife Charles.

Charles also encouraged all New Yorkers to occupy the neighborhood alongside the organizers, saying that more visibility in the neighborhood would help turn the tides of violence.

“This is about collectively utilizing the strengths we have as New Yorkers,” she said. “We are resilient and we are tough, and this is a time for us to step up.”