Queens District Attorney Richard Brown will meet with local leaders tomorrow to discuss what his office is doing to fight crime in the borough. NY1's Ruschell Boone filed the following report on a key initiative designed to get illegal guns off the street.
The Queens district attorney says while overall crime in the borough is down, homicides are up. There were 95 last year, 23 more than the year before.
District Attorney Richard Brown says that's not a high number given the size of the borough, but any increase is still troubling. In response, he will announce on Friday a Queens Gun Buyback Program – the first ever in the borough.
"The Southeast Queens community particularly has expressed concerns to us about the number of shootings, the number of homicides, and the drive-by shootings that have occurred from time to time," said Brown. "So anything we can do to get the guns off the street is something that we certainly want to do."
The DA says he's working on the details with the New York City Police Department, elected officials, and local clergy. The buyback program would allow people to turn in illegal guns to churches in exchange for $200.
The program is just one of several initiatives the DA says his office is working on to fight crime in the borough.
"We also gotten ourselves involved in a lot of cutting-edge programs, such as our ankle bracelet program for domestic violence victims and for DWI offenders," said Brown.
But even as he prepares to outline his initiatives and accomplishments, the DA says lawmakers will also hear about an increase in crimes he believes are related to the struggling economy. These crimes include real estate fraud and robberies.
"You begin to see things like bank robberies increase and you begin to see things like street robberies," Brown said. "You see kids getting involved. We have, like I think all areas of the city, an upswing in terms of gang violence."
To help combat those and other crimes, the DA says he is hoping the lawmakers attending the breakfast will make sure the economy does not take a toll on his budget. He's hoping they with continue to fight for funding for his office on the city, state, and federal level.