As the number of gun violence victims continue to soar, State Sen. Roxanne Persaud (D- Canarsie, East New York, Brownsville, Mill Basin, Old Mill Basin, Sheepshead Bay, Bergen Beach, Marine Park, Flatlands, Mill Island, Georgetown, Ocean Hill, Starrett City) tried to move the needle on possible answers to address the violence in the streets.
Persaud recently convened a virtual Town Hall over Facebook live dubbed “The Causalities & Casualties of Gun Violence.” The event featured a number of panelists to discuss gun violence in Brooklyn and viable solutions.
“It has become a time when I look around and hear something about gun violence in Brooklyn and I say where was it? Was it part of my district?” asked Persaud, kicking off the two-hour town hall session.
Unfortunately, a couple of days after this conversation, a 27 year-old man was fatally shot in the East New York part of Pursaud’s district at a birthday party celebration that turned chaotic, according to media reports.
The 75th police precinct which patrols the neighborhoods of East New York, Cypress Hills, Starrett City and City Line has seen a 144% increase in murder since last year and a 76% increase in shooting incidents, according to NYPD statistics.
Massive spikes in crime and gun violence are happening all over Brooklyn. The numbers of shootings have more than doubled since 2019 in Brooklyn North and South, and murder is following closely behind.
While Persaud pushes for more funding for front-line organizations, panelists at the online conversation were fragmented on which piece of the puzzle they think they should focus on to decrease the violent crime.
Executive director of Elite Learners Camara Jackson agreed that the number of programs and resources in schools aren’t matching up to the number of kids who need them.
“What we are seeing is the results of what happens when the young people don’t have the necessities they need to become successful,” she commented.
Another panelist, Digna Layne of the 73rd precinct community council got personal during the talk, sharing that most of her friends whom she grew up with in East New York are either in jail or dead.
“Remember when these resources and mentorship [programs] are finished with, they go home to their parents- some of whom are active gang members,” she said. “Everybody’s work is important but it starts at home.”
While the FY 2020-2021 state budget included bill language from Senator Persaud’s legislation S7792, which strengthens laws keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, the conversation for how to attack this problem remains open.
“It’s about finding the root causes of what is happening- not increasing the penalty. We have to stop pointing fingers and blaming people.” Persaud added. “We have to all work together to change our community and this will affect the children. Hopefully.”