N.Y. program plans to pay up to $200 a week to gang members who avoid violent crime


By Marnie Eisenstadt


SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A brand new program geared toward lowering town’s gun violence needs to pay gang members to remain out of bother.

The Neighborhood Violence Interruption Coverage, a pilot program proposed by Mayor Ben Walsh’s Office to Reduce Gun Violence, plans to pay between $100 and $200 per week to gang members who comply with take part. The funds are geared toward serving to the gang members with fundamental bills, however they solely get the cash in the event that they keep away from violent prison habits.

Syracuse Police investigate a double homicide on 3101 Burnet Ave in the Eastwood neighborhood Aug 24, 2022.

Syracuse Police examine a double murder on 3101 Burnet Ave within the Eastwood neighborhood Aug 24, 2022. (Dennis Nett)

The money is a small a part of this system, which can serve 50 younger folks at first. It additionally consists of mentoring, job coaching, battle decision between rival gang members and remedy, in accordance with an overview of the plan by the Mayor’s Workplace to Scale back Gun Violence.

The mayor’s workplace is planning to ask Widespread Councilors for $1 million to fund the trouble, which shall be a pilot program.

The report on the plan provides among the first concrete information concerning the function gangs play in Syracuse’s violent crimes: Greater than half of the 50 homicides up to now two years had been gang-related, in accordance with the report.

For the previous decade, greater than a 3rd of the homicides had been gang-related.

The report additionally places a quantity on the dimensions of Syracuse’s gang downside, saying that the pilot program will serve 50 folks, or about 4% of the 1,250 gang members within the metropolis.

The report additionally stated town has recognized 11 particular areas the place gun violence is worst within the metropolis. It didn’t embody the precise places, however stated all of them share among the identical issues: overgrown vegetation, blighted properties, dim or nonexistent avenue lights and folks coping with unaddressed trauma.

The report stresses that this system is barely a pilot and gained’t be expanded if it’s not profitable, stating that a number of organizations have been working diligently to scale back gun violence, but it surely’s been exhausting to maneuver the needle.

“… regardless of totally different interventions … town’s common variety of homicides per yr rose by 31% over the past decade,” the plan states.

Town’s charge of youth charged in homicides can also be one of many highest within the nation.

A lot of the work for the brand new effort shall be performed by teams which have already been working with teenagers and younger males within the metropolis, together with the Good Life Foundation, the Salvation Army and the Street Addiction Institute.

Lateef Johnson-Kinsey, head of the Workplace for Gun Violence Discount, has been assembly for months with group teams and nonprofits, engaged on the plan. In an interview about this system earlier this yr, he stated his workplace has discovered that the gangs should not combating about medication or cash, however private disputes and feuds that started earlier than a few of them had been born.

“It’s all about battle,” Johnson-Kinsey stated.

[RELATED: Managing gangs in schools: Prevention strategies]

A lot of the plan revolves round utilizing people who find themselves identified and trusted by the gang members. Syracuse Police Chief Joe Cecile stated this mannequin has been efficient within the colleges, and he expects will probably be simply as helpful in neighborhoods.

“They’ve way more affect than anybody else,” Cecile stated. He pointed to folks like Timothy “Noble” Jennings-Bey of the Road Habit Institute. “I can stroll over there and speak to someone, they’re not going to hearken to me. However he can stroll over there and speak to them, one on one, about alternate options apart from pulling a gun.”

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RELATED: Juvenile gang prevention and intervention

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