Coney Island City Council Member Mark Treyger and State Senator Diane Savino, along with community leaders, clergy members and residents, yesterday, called on the de Blasio Administration to institute more police actions and community programs in response to gun violence that continues to plague the community.
The call for more action was held outside of the Coney Island Houses at West 30th Street and Surf Avenue in an area that has seen three shootings in the past week. This includes a 19-year-old man shot in the leg on West 24th Street, a 23-year-old man was shot in the eye at Mermaid Avenue and West 24th Street and a 51-year-old man fatally shot at the corner of Neptune Avenue and Bayview Avenue, adjacent to Kaiser Park.
“The city’s response to gun violence impacting Coney Island and other parts of the city will ultimately be judged a success only through a significant drop in shooting incidents, the reopening of community centers damaged by Sandy and the commitment of greater resources to the West End of Coney Island,” said Treyger.
“Residents are tired of hearing about historical trends and need tangible action and results. I will continue to push to bring the programs and resources needed to greatly reduce the senseless shootings and violence that is impacting residents,” he added.
Treyger urged de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton to include Coney Island to the Summer All Out and One City: Safe and Fair Everywhere initiatives to the 60th Precinct. The initiative would add Parks Enforcement Patrol officers to the amusement area in order to free-up precinct officers to patrol residential areas.
Treyger would also like to implement Shotspotter technology, which has been installed in other neighborhoods. This technology allows data to be gathered on the accurate statistics regarding the frequency and location of all shootings.
Lastly, Treyger demanded the reopening of NYCHA community centers that were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy which have yet to be renovated nearly two years later.
“We can’t always ask residents to make the right choice if we give them fewer choices to make. I’m not saying that if these centers were open they would prevent every shot fired, but you would have residents, seniors and youth, engaging in meaningful programs instead of being on the street,” said Treyger.
Dr. Mathylde Frontus, of the Coney Island Ant-Violence Collaborative, said gun violence has been a problem ever since she moved into the neighborhood as a little girl 30 years ago
“The root of this community violence is multi-faceted and requires a multi-pronged solution, including the Cure Violence program which the Administration has promised to Coney Island,” said Frontus.
Neighborhood activist Ken Jones echoed Frontus’ comments.
“We need to target the youth with guns, take the guns out of their hand and replace them with sure shot initiatives that are going to give them training, technical training for the jobs they aren’t prepared for,” said Jones.
Savino noted that policing methods have changed with technology allowing residents with smart phones to download useful apps to aid in policing. This includes the ability to download the New York City Police Department or New York State Crime Stoppers app in order to report crimes and submit tips.
“We’ve all heard the old expression that ‘snitches get stitches’ and we are trying to combat that expression,” said Savino. “We live in a different time now. People have tools today that we didn’t have when we were young.”