Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo this week declared the first-in-the-nation gun violence disaster emergency as part of a new strategy to build a safer New York.
This 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.
According to the governor’s office, the disaster emergency allows the state to expedite money and resources to communities so they can begin targeting gun violence immediately.
Tracking gun violence hotspots
To coordinate this nation-leading gun violence prevention effort, the Governor announced the creation of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention.
The Governor also required by Executive Order major police departments to share incident-level 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 to those areas that need it most.
This 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.
According to the governor’s office, the spike in gun violence began as COVID kept many young people out of school and work, and disruptions to social supports and services left at-risk youth without safe, productive places to go during the day. These disruptions have had a destabilizing impact, particularly on young people, leading to a rise in gun violence. Research has shown that summer job programs decrease the likelihood of involvement in violence by 45 percent.
’The New York way’
“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,” Governor 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.”