Gov. Cuomo announces disaster emergency on gun violence as shootings spike across the state

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a new gun violence disaster emergency to address a surge of shootings across the state.

The executive order, billed as the first in the nation, treats gun violence as a public health crisis.

The governor announced the creation of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention and ordered major police departments to share incident-level data with the state’s Division of Criminal Justice Services. The data will be compiled weekly, and used by the Office of Gun Violence Prevention to track gun violence “hotspots” and get resources where they’re needed most.

The strategy includes a $138.7 million investment in intervention and prevention program, like programs that provide at-risk youth with job opportunities and activities.

Cuomo cited COVID-19’s disruptions to young people’s school and work as the beginning of the spike in gun violence in the state.

“Disruptions to social supports and services left at-risk youth without safe, productive places to go during the day – these disruptions have had a destabilizing impact, particularly on young people, leading to a rise in gun violence,” a press release from the governor’s office said. “Research has shown that summer job programs decrease the likelihood of involvement in violence by 45 percent.”

Gov. Cuomo also announced the creation of a new State Police  Gun Trafficking Interdiction Unit to stop illegal guns coming into New York from states with weaker gun safety laws.

Through a partnership with John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the state will help strengthen police/community relations by helping municipalities implement the reform plans they created through the New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative. 

MORE | Poll: Most New Yorkers oppose Cuomo impeachment, but prefer new governor for 2022 race

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