NEW YORK, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo Tuesday declared the first-in-the-nation gun violence disaster emergency as part of a new, comprehensive strategy to make New York safer. The 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.
The disaster emergency reportedly allows the State to expedite money and resources to communities so they can begin targeting gun violence immediately.
To coordinate the 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 weekly data. This data will reportedly 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.
The comprehensive strategy reportedly 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.
Gov. Cuomo also announced the creation of a new State Police Gun Trafficking Interdiction Unit to stop the flood of illegal guns that come into New York from states with weak gun safety laws. Additionally, the State will reportedly continue to strengthen police-community relations through a partnership with John Jay College of Criminal Justice to help localities implement and assess the reform plans they developed through the landmark New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative.
“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.”