Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler says his department's latest effort against gang gun violence is already showing results.
It's the Truce Program. Syracuse is one of nine cities in the country using the threat-and-help approach. The city has gotten a $300-thousand dollar federal grant for the program.
Fowler says that not only gangs, but 'crews' and other associations of groups with 'violent histories or tendencies' have been pinpointed, and brought in for talks with a judge, law enforcers and the mother of a violent crime victim. They're told they can 'get out' of the lifestyle, and are offered help from area social and support agencies. But they're also told that if gun-related, violent crime is connected to them, not only the individual, but everyone associated with the group will be brought in, and charged with everything from the incident, to minor violations like vehicle and traffic infractions.
Chief Fowler says that after the shooting death of 20 year old Darrell Mobley on Syracuse's east side in March, investigators connected the shooting to a dispute over 'gang' territory, and they arrested 32 year old Martin Griswold, who was on parole after giving a gun to a murder suspect. Fowler says that besides the murder charge, they've made 20 other arrests coming out of the incident.
The Chief also says that neighborhood groups are the 'eyes and ears' of the police department, and that if more people call in when they see something suspicious, including the illegal use of handguns, the word will get out that lawbreakers will be made to feel uncomfortable.
Fowler was interviewed on our 'CNY in Focus' segment, on Sunday morning's Weekend Today in CNY, as 'gun violence awareness month' wraps up.
To get in touch with area neighborhood watches:
In Syracuse, www.syracuseneighborhoodwatch.org or 448-8762