Brooklyn Clergy and Police Join Forces to Protect Black Community

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCNewYork
    The Commissioner with Brooklyn ministers.

    Ministers will meet with gangsters. Grandmothers will lecture wayward kids.

    Those are among the goals announced Wednesday by a new task force of  police and clergy in Brooklyn aimed at combating violence and building trust between officers and the community.

    '"We bury too many children, counsel too many parents.... We say enough is enough," said Bishop Gerald Seabrooks of the Rehoboth Cathedral International in Bedford Stuyvesant at the announcement.

    The group plans to target violence, especially crime among young people, with a 10-point program that includes reaching out to gang leaders, recruiting grandmothers of at-risk youth and expanding the clergy gun buy back program.

    Police Commissioner Ray Kelly stressed that despite New York's falling crime rate, violence hits African Americans greater than other groups.

    "The homicide rate for African-American males between the ages of 18 and 34 is more than six times higher than that of young Hispanic men and more than 12 times higher than that of young white men," said Kelly. "African-Americans make up 24 percent of the New York population, yet they were 58 percent of its murder victims in 2009 and 73 percent of its shooting victims."

    The ministers said they want to curb all types of violence, particularly black on black crime.

    "We come today to strongly and categorically denounce all black on black crime, as well as crimes against any person regardless of race, ethnicity, religious beliefs or any other factor," said the Rev. Dan Craig of the Mount Zion Baptist Church in  

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