Syracuse awarded federal grant to fight gang violence

Sep 28, 2012

The city of Syracuse is taking some new steps in the fight against gun crime and gang violence. "Syracuse Truce" will bring police and community organizations together to deter crime.

Syracuse has been awarded a $300,000 federal grant, one of only nine awarded nationally. It will pay for enhanced enforcement, street outreach and a media component to target what Mayor Stephanie Miner calls a scourge on the city.  She says an important component to Syracuse Truce is stopping these crimes before they happen.

"By the time somebody picks up a gun and shoots it, there's been a whole bunch of breakdown in our societal fabric that has allowed that to happen, and part of our challenge as community leaders is to step into that breach and try to repair that," said the mayor.

The prevention aspect of this program will include call-in meetings, according to U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian.  He says they will bring in high-risk offenders on probation or parole to attend meetings that have police there and additional support.

"We're going to have community leaders there, members of the clergy, and people there from the Salvation Army and the community colleges, and some of the jobs programs. We're going to give them employment assistance and substance abuse counseling and make these benefits available to them," Hartunian said. "To make these programs known to them."

Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler says the Syracuse Truce will send a message to perpetrators.

"This will be a great opportunity to say to people who are committing violence in the community particularly the gang members, that it's time to knock it off," said Fowler.

The enhanced enforcement will include street saturation patrols, warrant details and probation and parole home visits of offenders. The media component of the program that would have convictions for gang-related activity featured on billboards and bus signs.