NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A huge increase in shootings in New York City led to a demonstration Saturday night in Harlem.
Organizers say it’s time for the community to step in to make real change.
“We got a lot of work to do everywhere,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters as he rushed to his vehicle, leaving the “Occupy the Corner for Peace” gathering.
HAPPENING NOW: @NYCMayor & his wife, First Lady McCray, participating in an “Occupy the Corner” event in Harlem at 143rd Street & Malcom X Blvd. This gathering is taking place after recent shootings all across #NYC and uptick in violence in #Harlem. @CBSNewYork pic.twitter.com/27XB0mEvXV
— Cory James (@CoryJamesTV) July 11, 2020
At the event, he was more vocal about communities stepping in to reduce crime across New York City.
“This is very moving to me because this is the people. This is the people taking back your own community,” the mayor said.
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According to the NYPD, in comparison to this time last year, the number of people shot has gone up 206% while shooting incidents have jumped 184%.
Local organization “Street Corner Resources” helped plan the initiative to fight back against gun violence.
The organizer, Iesha Sekou, says everyone needs to get involved to save neighborhoods and lives.
“When you have child, you would never want to look in that room and that be the last memory that you have was when your child was in that room and all of that stuff is there and there’s no child, so on these streets, when you’re trying to save a life, you have to do what’s necessary to save the life. That’s the bottom line,” Sekou said.
During the event, local leaders spoke to the crowd, filled with people from all backgrounds and ages, CBS2’s Cory James reports.
State Sen. Brian Benjamin was there, saying this is the beginning phase of finding long-term solutions.
“That’s what Occupy the Corner is all about, and we’re talking with some of the OGs and we’re trying to figure out what is it that we need to be doing, what can they do to help keep the community safe,” Benjamin said.
Officials did not discuss any concrete steps, leaving some who attended the event with mixed feelings.
“We don’t need talk, we need real preventative methods. That’s what we need,” Harlem resident Alpheaus Marcus said.
But it’s a start that police say involves them to help create change people want to see.
“Cops and community are bonding to end violence, and then we’ll work out all the other differences,” NYPD Chief Jeffrey Maddrey said.
Police say they added additional officers to show more of a presence in the community.
Organizers say they are in the process of planning similar events, and they hope it will help increase resources in struggling communities with gun violence and crime.