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Hochul teams up with Adams on NYC anti-gun violence program; hopes to replicate it in other cities

Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams get ready to announce a targeted anti-gun violence program on July 31, 2023.
Don Pollard
Office of Gov. Kathy Hochul
Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams get ready to announce a targeted anti-gun violence program on July 31, 2023.

Gov. Kathy Hochul, along with New York City Mayor Eric Adams and state Attorney General Tish James, on Monday announced new, targeted steps to address the roots of gun violence.

Adams said the $485 million plan, known as “A Blueprint for Community Safety,” will pour resources into New York City communities and neighborhoods most affected by gun violence. It includes $118.3 million for early intervention efforts to prevent young people from turning to gun violence and over $50 million to improve substandard public housing conditions. Nearly $68 million would help New Yorkers better access public benefits.

There are also funds for mental health resources and for improving police-community relations.

“We’re making a historical step that I believe is going to cascade throughout the entire country,” Adams said. “With this new Blueprint for Community Safety, we're not just talking about it, we're spending about it also.”

Hochul, who attended the announcement, said the state will contribute $30 million to the effort, including $6 million to help the city beef up its Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. The other funds will go toward expanding summer youth employment to a year-round program.

Hochul said she hopes that New York City’s program can be a model for other cities in the state to follow. She said she and Adams present a “united front” to combat gun violence.

Hochul took a veiled shot at her predecessor, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who famously feuded with former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“The era of the governor and the mayor fighting each other is over,” Hochul said to applause.

James said the effects of gun violence are unequal, and incidents are much more prevalent in Black and brown neighborhoods.

“We've been to too many hospitals, we've been at too many crime scenes, we've buried too many Black and brown boys, particularly boys,” James said. “The No. 1 cause of death for Black boys is homicide.”

Adams said despite the uptick in gun-related crimes in recent years, New York’s overall crime rate is low, compared to the rest of the nation.

“Sometimes those random acts of violence, like we witnessed over the weekend, takes away from the correct narrative,” Adams said. “New York City is the safest big city in America.”

But others who spoke, including New York City Public Advocate and former candidate for governor Jumaane Williams, said that number “means nothing” to those who lost a loved one to gun violence.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for the New York Public News Network, composed of a dozen newsrooms across the state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.