ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — This week on Empire State Weekly, state leaders working aggressively to tackle ongoing gun violence in New York and put a stop to illegal guns being trafficked throughout the northeast. With the launch of the newly formed Office of Gun Violence Prevention and Interstate Task Force on Illegal Guns, additional work is being done across state departments, such as the Division of Criminal Justice Services, as they continue working directly with local law enforcement and community engagement to curb gun violence at the source.

Joining us to discuss some of these ongoing efforts are Johanna Sullivan, Director for the Office of Public Safety and Damon Bacote, Deputy Commissioner for the Office of youth Justice. Sullivan’s Office handles the Gun Involved Violence Elimination Initiative, known as GIVE, while Bacote’s Office manages the SNUG Street Outreach Program. GIVE has been called a key component of the State’s shooting and homicide reduction strategy, while SNUG works to identify the source of gun violence, interrupts the transmission, and additionally addresses the trauma victims of gun violence face.

Bacote says SNUG tackles community gun violence through a public health approach. “We look at reducing gun violence by working with by mediating conflicts with groups and gangs and individuals and working with people who are at the highest risk, either shooting somebody or getting shot because of the lifestyle that they’re living,” says Bacote.

Over at GIVE, Sullivan says the initiative provides funding for different jurisdictions to assist in a number of areas. “We provide training and technical assistance on some of these evidence based strategies, focused deterrence, crime prevention through environmental design,” Sullivan says GIVE also provides support to local law enforcement agencies with crime analysts and academic partners who can help them effectively implement these strategies.

We also examine New York State’s dilemma over redistricting, as the process is now in the hands of the legislature to redraw State congressional districts after the Independent Redistricting Commission appointed to redraw the maps failed to reach an agreement.

Tim Hoefer, President and CEO of the Empire Center for Public Policy, joins us to discuss the maps the Center took upon themselves to draw, saying their maps were not guided by partisan consideration, but rather to protect communities and make sure citizens were fairly represented.

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