May 15, 2019 By Shane O’Brien
Queens Borough president Melinda Katz has announced that she will be hosting a town hall meeting on gun violence later this month, which will be co-hosted by New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and representatives of various community-based organizations.
The meeting, scheduled to take place at Queen Borough Hall on May 30 at 6 p.m., comes just two days two days before Gun Violence Awareness Month begins in June and will be a public forum for community groups, city agencies and law enforcement to discuss how to best tackle gun violence in Queens.
“We cannot cure the epidemic of gun violence solely through policing and locking up those who run afoul of the law,” said Katz, the Queens Borough President and a candidate for Queens District Attorney. “If we’re serious about ridding our society of the scourge of gun violence everywhere, we must deconstruct the normalization of gun violence.
“It is imperative that as a city, we direct our collective focus toward prevention through the promotion of peace and intervention, as well as increasing resources to investigate and prosecute those who traffic guns into our communities.
“At this borough-wide public forum, we will hear from leaders in government, law enforcement and dedicated community-based organizations throughout Queens on strategies that successfully steer our young people away from gun violence and toward paths of empowerment,” she concluded.
According to NYPD data, shootings have been steadily increasing in Queens in 2019, with 43 incidents of gun violence reported by the end of April. Patrol Borough Queens North, which includes the 108 and 114 precincts, saw 18 of those shootings, up from seven for the first four months of 2018.
Despite the uptick, gun crime in Queens has fallen by approximately 75 percent since 1990 and the town hall meeting will aim to stress the importance of prevention efforts.
Public Advocate Williams emphasized the significance of “participation in solutions,” stating that public forums are an important tool for fighting gun violence.
“As we begin Gun Violence Awareness Month, I am glad that we can come together for a conversation on ending violence in Queens, across our city, and across our country.
“We see the realities of horrific gun violence every day, on our screens and in our streets. Combating this pandemic means implementing strategies at all levels of government and in partnership with community groups doing the hard work of violence prevention and intervention on the ground.”
Also participating in the meeting will be 696 Build Queensbridge, Fathers Alive in the Hood (FAITH), Kings of Kings Foundation, LIFE Camp Inc, and Rock Safe Streets.