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Politics & Government

NYS Grants Support Proven Strategies to Reduce Gun Violence in CNY

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New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services
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New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services

  Syracuse and Onondaga County will share nearly $1.2 million in grant money on what experts say are programs proven to reduce gun violence and homicides. It’s the fourth highest award in the state among the 17 counties reporting 87 percent of the violent crime outside of New York City.  Mike Green heads the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, which administers the grants.  He says jurisdictions have wide leeway in how they use the funding, with the caveat that any spending on additional officers or overtime goes to support specific, evidence-based strategies.

"We are not interested in simply chasing down crimes in the next 20 years. We also want to try to get ahead of the problem and we want to prevent shootings and homicides from happening. These strategies certainly have a traditional law enforcement component to them they also have a proactive component.

For example, there’s a strategy called “focused deterrence" used in cities nationwide.  Green says they use crime data to identify the small groups of people responsible for most the gun violence in a community.  Then, law enforcement communicates directly with those groups about expectations, including what activity won’t be tolerated, and the consequences.

" Make it a group centered message. If someone in your group engages in a shooting, law enforcement will target your group. The theory is, and it has been proven to work over and over again, If you deliver that message consistently and you follow thru on that message and make sure that pay special attention to any groups whose members do shootings in a pretty short period of time the groups will start policing themselves because they are not going to want that law enforcement activity." 

Green says Syracuse and Onondaga county are already incorporating those proven principles in their “truce” program.  He says that evidence-based work, combined with the community shootings and homicides, is why this area received one of the larger grants.