What to Know
- Gov. Andrew Cuomo has issued the first-in-the-nation Executive Order declaring gun violence in New York as a Disaster Emergency -- the first step in a comprehensive plan that aims to tackle the surge in gun violence throughout the state.
- The disaster emergency status will allow the state to address the gun violence crisis by expediting money and resources to communities so they can begin targeting gun violence immediately.
- Cuomo's announcement comes at a time when the city and the country a as whole are struggling to curtail the uptick in gun violence.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has issued the first-in-the-nation Executive Order declaring gun violence in New York as a Disaster Emergency -- the first step in a comprehensive plan that aims to tackle the surge in gun violence throughout the state.
The announcement was made at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan in New York Tuesday afternoon.
The disaster emergency status will allow the state to address the gun violence crisis by expediting money and resources to communities so they can begin targeting gun violence immediately.
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This is the first step in a comprehensive plan Cuomo outlined composed of 7 key areas -- all with the aim of quelling the gun violence surge. The key areas are:
- Treat gun violence like the emergency public health it is;
- Target hotspots with data and science;
- Positive engagement for at-risk youth;
- Break the cycle of escalating violence;
- Get illegal guns off the streets;
- Keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people;
- Rebuild the police-community relationship
This new strategy treats gun violence as a public health crisis, using short-term solutions to manage the immediate gun violence crisis and reduce the shooting rate, as well as long-term solutions that focus on community-based intervention and prevention strategies to break the cycle of violence.
To coordinate this nation-leading gun violence prevention effort, Cuomo announced the creation of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention and is also requiring by Executive Order major police departments to share data on gun violence with DCJS to compile this data weekly. This data will be used by the new Office of Gun Violence Prevention to track emerging gun violence hotspots and deploy resources.
This comprehensive strategy also includes a $138.7 million investment in intervention and prevention programs, including programs that engage at-risk youth in summer job opportunities and community activity programs to get young people off the streets, and supports ongoing gun violence prevention programs.
A new State Police Gun Trafficking Interdiction Unit was announced. The group's main purpose will be to stop illegal guns from coming into New York from states with weak gun safety laws. Additionally, the State will continue to strengthen police-community relations through a partnership with John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
"We're building New York back better than ever before, but part of rebuilding is addressing the systemic injustices that were exposed by COVID. If you look at the recent numbers, more people are now dying from gun violence and crime than COVID - this is a national problem but someone has to step up and address this problem because our future depends on it," Cuomo said.
"Just like we did with COVID, New York is going to lead the nation once again with a comprehensive approach to combating and preventing gun violence, and our first step is acknowledging the problem with a first-in-the-nation disaster emergency on gun violence. When we see an injustice we don't look the other way, we stand up and fight it because that's the New York way," Cuomo went on to say.
Additionally, the state is also launching a new portal of statewide police reform plans to encourage jurisdictions to learn from each other.
Cuomo's announcement comes at a time when the city and the country a as whole are struggling to curtail the uptick in gun violence.
Since the spring of 2020, the number of shootings has soared in New York City. At least 687 people were wounded or killed by gunfire through June 6. Although the figure is not as high as the more than 2,400 people were shot during the same period in 1993, it is the highest number for a winter and early spring since 2000.
Additionally, late last month, President Joe Biden announced new efforts to stem a rising national tide of violent crime, declaring the federal government is “taking on the bad actors doing bad things to our communities.” But questions persist about how effective the efforts can be in what could be a turbulent summer.
Crime rates have risen after plummeting during the initial months of the coronavirus pandemic, creating economic hardship and anxiety. Biden’s plan focuses on providing money to cities that need more police, offering community support and most of all cracking down on gun violence and those supplying illegal firearms.