Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a comprehensive initiative to reduce gun violence across the State. The initiative includes leveraging $2 million to develop community specific anti-gun violence strategies, launching a targeted advertising campaign, supporting effective community based violence intervention programs, and creating a toll-free tip line to encourage citizens to report illegal firearm possession.
"For too long, urban communities across New York have been devastated by gun violence, destroying families and neighborhoods," Governor Cuomo said. "Although the crime rate in New York State has dropped 60 percent, making it the safest large state in the country, we must do all we can to stop the violence and make sure our residents are protected and our streets are safe. These initiatives will give communities the tools they need to effectively fight gun violence and reduce crime, making the state a safer and better place to live for all."
This initiative is a part of the Governor’s larger urban agenda to aggressively support the implementation of community-based violence reduction strategies involving both the police and the community. The Governor's plan includes four innovative strategies to reduce gun violence across the State: Creating Community Specific Anti-Violence Strategies:
The Governor is awarding $1 million dollars to six communities – Newburgh, Albany, Schenectady, Brownsville, the Bronx and Manhattan, that are most impacted by gun violence to develop strategies to reduce it. Two prominent academics who have focused on crime and gun violence, Professor Tracey Meares of Yale University and Professor David M. Kennedy of John Jay College, will work with the localities to implement this strategy. They have employed strategies in other jurisdictions that have reduced crime dramatically. Launching Advertising Campaign:
The Governor will launch a state-wide advertising campaign focused on reducing gun violence. The campaign will utilize several tools that will target and encourage changes in behavior that will reduce violent crime. The campaign is expected to launch in the spring of 2012. Supporting Effective Community-Based Programs:
The Governor is committed to continue funding community-based programs that have demonstrated effectiveness and a record of success. The Governor recently awarded $700,000 to support anti-violence intervention (also referred to as the SNUG program) in five communities including Yonkers, Albany, Niagara, Harlem and Brooklyn. Based on a public health model of violence intervention, the program funds “violence interrupters,” often ex-offenders who identify potential disputes and try to de-escalate. The program managers are required to submit results by the end of the fiscal year. Creating A Toll-Free Gun Tip Line:
Individuals in communities with persistently high rates of gun violence will now have access to a dedicated hotline to report illegal guns. The Governor announced today the launching of a toll-free number 1-855-GUNS-NYS (486-7697) that will provide follow-up on caller information regarding the location of an illegal gun. Rewards will be determined based on the value of the lead.