Klein takes aim at gun violence

A local state senator hopes to rid the high rates of Bronx shootings Chicago style.

Sen. Jeff Klein earmarked $250,000 for his anti-gun initative dubbed Operation S.N.U.G., a play on the word guns.

The initiative, operating in other counties around the city and state, is the first for the Bronx.

It is modeled after the “CeaseFire Chicago” program, which saw a dramatic drop in shootings in the first year.

Much like the Chicago program, Operation S.N.U.G. takes aim at stopping gun violence by examining data on where known shootings have taken place.

Mediators – typically reformed criminals working with community-based organizations – will fan out to several hotspots to settle any impending beefs that could rise a gun violence. They will operate mostly during the evening hours when gun violence is more likely to occur.

“Gang violence has devastated neighborhoods in the Bronx, and has resulted in the deaths of our young men and women,” said Klein. “We have to take a comprehensive, aggressive approach to combat this.”

Klein’s 34th Senate District covers a range of both poor and well-to-do neighborhoods, with gun violence a major issue.

The NYPD’s mid-year crime figures show nine of the twelve Bronx precincts ranked in the top 22 of the NYPD’s 76 precincts when it came to shooting victims. Ten of the twelve Bronx precincts ranked in the top 23 citywide for shooting incidents.

Statistics show the 46th Precinct in University Heights/Mt. Hope as the most troubled precinct for Bronx shootings, with 18 victims as of June 30, followed by the 40th in Mott Haven/Melrose with 16 victims. Also in the top 23 citywide were the 42nd, 47th, 43rd, 44th, 49th,, 48th and 52nd.

The 49th Precinct in the heart of Klein’s district, saw 13 shooting victims.

Overall, mid-year crime data shows the Bronx made strides in combatting gun violence. The borough saw 132 shooting incidents at the mid-year point, a 29% drop from the same time a year ago. So far, 146 people have been shot, a decrease of 39% from the same time in 2012.

Much like Ceasefire, anti-gun programs have been adopted in known hotspots.

Last year, the think tank Center for Court Innovation, received a half-million dollar grant from Councilman Fernando Cabrera to hire “violence interrupters.” Clergy and other non-profit groups were also asked to come into the program.

It’s still unclear where Operation S.N.U.G will be implemented, though Klein has teamed with 49th Precinct Community Council president Joe Thompson, a retired NYPD detective, to identify any danger zones.

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383

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