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Brownsville Gets Federal Grant To Combat Violence

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TWC News: Brownsville Gets Federal Grant To Combat Violence
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Brownsville is one of the 15 communities throughout the United States that will receive federal funding to combat neighborhood-level crime. NY1's Polly Kreisman filed the following report.

A drive-by shooting of six, including a two-year-old girl on July 29 and the shooting death of a 13-year-old boy on August 24 are just two of the 80 shooting victims recorded in Brownsville, as of the middle of September. The violence caught the caught the attention of the federal government.

"There is a significant clustering of crime in small areas or crime hot spots that accounts for a disproportionate amount of crime and disorder in many communities," said Denise O'Donnell with the U.S. Department of Justice. "Brownsville is a prime example of that dynamic."

So the Justice Department will spend almost $600,000 on a program to try to stem the violence there.

Brownsville is one of 15 communities nationwide to qualify for the grant, known as the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program. It's named for NYPD Officer Edward Byrne, who was shot dead by drug dealers in 1988.

"This is definitely the appropriate location to test this program," said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

The Brownsville Anti-Violence Project will focus on training and counseling young offenders returning to the community from prison. Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes says that right now, four out of five young former inmates from Brooklyn wind up back behind bars.

"Reducing recidivism instead of building endless warehouses of despair is the way to bring public safety," Hynes said. "That's why the money or resources is so critical."

While government and city leaders look at what's driving crime in Brownsville, people on the street have some ideas.

"They have to go into the schools," said Brownsville resident Lisa DeLeon. "They really have to address the lack of teaching that's going on, the lack of discipline in schools."

"You don't see a police officer out here, nowhere," said Brownsville resident Henry Richardson. "The only time they're here, like, when you call 'em. But otherwise, you don't see 'em."

With 240 communities applying for money, Brownsville was lucky to get a grant or unlucky to need it.

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