NYPD joins forces with Brooklyn pastors to fight gang violence by engaging black youth

John Lauinger (DAILY NEWS) | September 29th 2010

The NYPD and dozens of Brooklyn pastors have formed a new alliance aimed at engaging black youth and deterring gang violence, the city’s top cop said Wednesday.

They hope that positive influences will steer them away from the clutches of gangs and senseless street violence.

Members of the cloth – 35 are already on board – will not just be preaching to their choirs. They vow to bring a message of peace directly to gang-bangers and younger kids who might follow in their footsteps.

“We’ve buried too many children,” said Bishop Gerald Seabrooks of Rehoboth Cathedral International in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. “We say enough is enough. This is not our heritage. We’ve seen too many mothers and grandmothers now outliving their children.”

For the NYPD, the approach stresses community outreach and creative thinking.

Women in the Police Department’s executive corps have been charged with developing relationships with black grandmothers who are raising grandchildren, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

These high-ranking cops will help connect the families with social services and educational and job opportunities.

A hotline will also be established to allow these grandmothers to reach out directly to police brass instead of calling desk cops at their local precinct stationhouses.

More gun buyback programs will be hosted at houses of worship, and block improvement programs will target troubled areas.

Kelly said that serious efforts are needed to combat a trend of violent crime disproportionately affecting the black community.

“African-Americans make up 24% of the New York City population,” he said. “Yet they were 58% of its murder victims in 2009, and 73% of its shooting victims.”

Black men between the ages of 18 and 34 are six times more likely to be murdered than Latino men of the same age, and 12 times more likely than white males, Kelly said, citing city data.

The statistics are just as stark when it comes to perpetrators of violent crime. Last year, blacks were 60% of all homicide suspects and 80% of all shooting suspects, Kelly said.

Article continued at: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/09/29/2010-09-29_nypd_joins_forces_with_brooklyn_pastors_to_fight_gang_violence_by_engaging_black.html

Photo: NYPD

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