The city is attempting a “fundamental shift” on dealing with gun violence, as shootings are up 12% this year. On Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a plan to expand the “Violence Interrupters” program as part of a “Gun Violence Crisis Management System,” DNAinfo reports.
The $12.7 million in funds will go towards strategies for preventing gun violence before it happens, targeting most at-risk neighborhoods and focusing on “job training and mental health counseling” as well as “school-based conflict mediation programs” and the “training of anti-violence providers.”
The “Violence Interruptors” program has been active in New York since 2011, employing former criminals and members of gangs who defuse and meditate situations and environments that could become violent. By the end of the year, the program will expand into East New York, Brownsville, East Flatbush, Concourse Village, Far Rockaway, Coney Island, Queensbridge, East Harlem, Morris Heights, and Eastchester.
Mayor de Blasio said:
The violence interrupters are a community-based solution, community members talking to other community members and convincing them that violence is not the right path. There’s no one who can convince, particularly some of our young people, of the consequences of their actions more than someone who went down the wrong path then recovered from it.