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Syracuse receives $300,000 grant from US Department of Justice for gang prevention
The U.S. attorney for the Northern District of New York is initiating a call to action in an effort to prevent future gang violence in the city of Syracuse.
U.S. Attorney Richard S. Hartunian addressed gang and gun violence occurring in the city in a news conference at his office Thursday afternoon.
The U.S. Department of Justice awarded the city of Syracuse a $300,000 grant through the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Violent Gang and Gun Crime Reduction Program for the program “Syracuse Truce,” Hartunian said. Syracuse is one of nine cities across the nation receiving the grant. The announcement came in a news conference Thursday, where city officials announced what they hope is another step toward a resolution.
“Here in Syracuse, we have taken a strong stand against gun and gang violence over the past decade,” he said.
Syracuse Truce aims to bring positive change to neighborhoods that have been plagued by gun crime and gang violence, primarily the west and south side of the city of Syracuse, Hartunian said.
We all understand one thing: We cannot prosecute our way out of the gang and gun violence problem. We know we can’t do that.
Richard Hartunian, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York
He discussed Syracuse’s past and present plan to address and resolve gang violence and gun crimes in the community, mentioning the creation of the Syracuse Gang Violence Task Force and the police’s gang intelligence unit. The district attorney office and local law enforcement agencies collaborate to examine gun crimes and defendants charged with them, and bring prosecutions to the appropriate forums, he said.
But Hartunian and his committee, alongside federal law enforcement, realize that conviction isn’t the sole resolution to the ongoing problem.
“We all understand one thing: We cannot prosecute our way out of the gang and gun violence problem. We know we can’t do that,” Hartunian said.
Syracuse Truce involves several different elements to address and resolve gang and gun violence, including enhanced enforcement, street outreach, call-in meetings, featured media, community organizations and evaluation.
Each element piece is still under works, Hartunian said.
When asked the question of how the enforcement will be different under these enhancements, as opposed to current enforcement, Syracuse Police Department Chief Frank Fowler said it be an opportunity for gang members to understand that “it’s time to knock it off.”
Said Fowler: “The efforts will be above and beyond what we’ve been able to do in the past.”
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