Brownsville Anti-Violence Project Gets a Federal Boost

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Officials from the U.S. Department of Justice, the NYPD and the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office announced a $600,000 grant to combat violent crimes in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn on Tuesday.

The grant funding, provided by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services and the U.S. Department of Justice, comes at a time when the local 73rd police precinct is considered to be one the most violent in the city.

“The core program is to gather at risk youth and bring them in, counsel them and tell them that the full force and effect of the criminal justice system will be brought to bear on our streets, particularly here in Brownsville,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

The funds will be used for the Brownsville Anti-Violence Project initiative, and will employ place-based crime fighting strategies, which focus on hot spots of violence in neighborhoods. The block-by-block approach will allow authorities to focus on the blocks with the most violent activity, as opposed to targeting the entire community.

The hope is to prevent incidents like the death of thirteen-year-old Ronald Wallace, who was walking with siblings and friends to a McDonald’s when he was fatally shot. The alleged shooter, 17-year-old Akbar Johns, was arrested on Sept. 7.

The community driven initiative will also include a public education campaign, a youth program and monthly “call in” forums that will have parolees meet with police, social service providers and ex-offenders who were able to turn their lives around.