Despite a solid decrease in both the City and Brooklyn in violent crime, City Council Member Jumaane Williams led a number of elected officials and local advocates in kicking off Gun Violence Awareness Month yesterday with the message now is not the time to let up on the awareness.
According the most recent official police statistics, murders are down city wide by more than nine percent, and in Brooklyn there have been 39 murders so far in 2016 as compared to 44 at this time in 2015. Bother shooting incidents and shootining victims is also down significantly in both Brooklyn.
As part of GVAM the City and anti-gun violence advocates have launched a series of initiatives to commemorate the month and the victims who have lost their lives to gun violence. The initiatives include NYC Go Orange, which works to bring city-wide visibility for the fight to end gun violence by having key buildings and cultural institutions to “Go Orange” and in honor of GVAM. The second initiative, 10,000FREE, is a voter registration campaign aimed at registering the formerly incarcerated to vote.
“Sadly, every day we see how gun violence has the ability to touch all of us,” said Williams. “This past weekend alone, 13 people were injured across the City because of gun violence. We have a long way to go to fix this problem that is plaguing so many of our communities. This month, we have to do all we can to continue to raise awareness so we can do something about it. Two steps in the right direction would be funding universal youth employment and funding the groups on the ground. We need real solutions backed with resources to fix a very real problem.”
Public Advocate Letitia James noted that as the city enters the summer months, which are notorious for increases in gun violence, it is more critical than ever to recommit to creating safe communities and keeping guns off our streets and out of our homes. “We must continue to speak up and demand action until every New Yorker is protected from the threats of gun violence,” she said.
Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo said the month marks how each year the city takes a proactive approach to galvanize communities across the city and state to end gun violence, promote gun safety, and demand action to close the loopholes that continues to endanger lives.
“Due to the accessibility of firearms through illegal sales and the lack of accountability of gun owners, women in abusive relationships too often become victims of domestic violence. We can no longer turn a blind eye or deaf ear to the issue of gun violence, which affects all of us,” said Cumbo.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams said just as orange road signs warn drivers about potential dangers on our roads, the city will use orange in the month of June to warn New Yorkers about the continued threat of gun violence in local neighborhoods.
“After another bloody Memorial Day weekend, we all have to seize our responsibility to become a part of the solution to this deadly and highly preventable epidemic. Let us recommit to eliminating the flow of illegal guns, demanding that manufacturers create smart gun technology, and offering young men and women in our communities alternatives to guns and gang violence,” said Adams.