De Blasio unveils plan to combat NYC’s surge in gun violence

After days of delay, Mayor Bill de Blasio laid out his plan to combat gun violence in New York City — by “taking back the block” with some added cops but a heavy reliance on community members on the streets.

We will take back our streets in Harlem and all over our city but we’re going to do it from the ground up,” de Blasio said. “We are going to break the cycle of violence.”

“Now starting tonight, you’re going to see a combination of things happening … increased NYPD presence at hotspots at key locations more patrol officers on foot in vehicles, but also more community presence because that is the key to this community leaders committee organizations walking with police officers showing common cause,” the mayor added. 

De Blasio announced his “Take Back the Block” initiative Friday morning at a press conference after days of promising a plan to combat the gun violence following a bloody holiday weekend — and without anyone from the NYPD joining the briefing.

“We have seen some really tough weekends, particularly last weekend and particularly in Harlem,” de Blasio said. “We saw way too much violence and it’s not something that’s acceptable in this city. We cannot have people live in fear we cannot have our young people in the crosshairs.”

The plan appears to lean heavily on increasing the neighborhood watch, adding community members as “violence interrupters,” opening up churches and putting clergy and faith-based outreach programs on the streets — as well as boosting police presence on more than 20 streets and in city housing complexes.

Officials at the scene of a shooting in Harlem
Officials at the scene of a shooting in HarlemSeth Gottfried

The mayor did not elaborate on the level of police presence that would be added.

De Blasio said the initiative is also aimed at engaging youth, with pop-up basketball events and a youth town hall.

“We have to do better and this weekend coming up has to be better, particularly in Harlem, where we’re focusing a lot of our efforts. Everyone agreed on a common vision, working together.”

The NYPD did not immediately respond for comment as to how many patrols would be added.

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