But that had other communities asking: What about us?
As CBS2’s political reporter Marcia Kramer reports, the streets of Harlem – an area beset by frequent gun violence – is going to be flooded with cops tonight as Mayor de Blasio takes the first steps to stop the record number of shootings plaguing the city. The key to his plan is to involve the community to help “take back the block.”
“Yes, of course increased NYPD presence at hotspots, at key locations, more patrol officers on foot, in vehicles. But also more community presence because that is the key to this,” the mayor said.
“We have seen some really tough weekends, particularly last weekend, and particularly in Harlem we saw way too much violence,” he said.
Over the July 4th weekend, there were 37 shootings with 56 victims.
“It’s not something that’s acceptable in this city. We cannot have people live in fear. We cannot have our young people in the crosshairs. It’s not something that we will allow in this city,” de Blasio said.
Police officers will be paired with members of community organizations. They will walk the streets together in an effort to engage the community and de-escalate situations before they get out of control.
WATCH: Mayor Bill de Blasio Gives Daily Briefing
The Harlem plan depends on the expertise of the cure violence group Street Corner Resources. The founder of the group, Iesha Sekou, spoke movingly about how members of her group go the extra mile to stop the shootings, interrupt the violence.
“Sometimes you have to grab a kid up once in a while and put them in the van and just say ‘Look, you’re not getting out until we bring this down,'” she said. “Because it’s really, at the end of the day, about saving the life.”
But gun violence isn’t limited to Harlem. The Bronx and Brooklyn are especially hard hit as the number of shootings last month hit levels not seen since 1996.
Pastor Jay Gooding, the clergy liaison for the 49th precinct in the Bronx, is begging Mayor de Blasio to expand the violence prevention program to the Bronx and Brooklyn, where police tape marking off the sites of shootings are seen all too often.
“Please help us, you know? Please help us to include us in whatever way that you can because the Bronx and Brooklyn right now are the two most affected boroughs,” he said. “It’s out of control right now. It’s out of control.”
In Harlem there were a variety of reactions to the mayor’s new program.
“I feel like he should just do what’s best for the people, since he is the mayor,” said one man.
Some people here feel keeping cops intact is the best way to protect citizens.
“Defunding the police department may not be the answer,” one person said.
The mayor says he is going to expand the community-based Stop the Violence programs to other boroughs. But the big question is when.
De Blasio also announced a youth town hall next Friday in Harlem.
Web Extra: See the mayor’s presentation slides (.pdf)
“This is a people’s response to violence. And the people saying ‘This is our community, and we will not allow violence in our community,’ and that is the single most powerful response,” the mayor said.