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    Mayor announces Guns off the Streets initiative

    (6/23/2006) Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. today announced the Guns off the Streets Initiative and is calling on the entire community to join in the effort. “Our message today is very simple: we will not tolerate gun violence in New Haven,” the Mayor said.

    Flanked by Chief of Police Francisco Ortiz, Jr., federal and state law enforcement agencies, probation, the Greater New Haven NAACP, school and church leaders, the Mayor announced the initiative at City Hall. “I am asking the entire community to join us in standing up against the spread of guns in the hands of our kids. We need the community’s help in spreading a message of intolerance for gun crime.”

    The Guns off the Streets initiative includes:

    • a new, 24-hour hotline, 946-8244, staffed around the clock where people can call anonymously to report gun information and to seek services for troubled kids

    • an information sharing network among key law enforcement and service partners to zero in on offenders

    • a new public awareness campaign

    The Mayor said the strategy has many partners by design. “We need law enforcement, community action and public awareness,” he said. “We need community activists, educators and civic and faith based organizations involved if we are going to change our culture to one of intolerance for gun violence. We have a responsibility to intervene, but we cannot do it alone.”

    The Guns off the Streets initiative includes:


    A 24-hour hotline, 946-8244, that community members can call to report concerns about potential or actual gun violence. The hotline will activate on Monday. Calls can be made anonymously. Information will be investigated by police. The hotline also will serve as a way for families to request additional services for young people.


    Local law enforcement, in partnership with agencies such as adult and juvenile probation, parole, NAACP and community based providers, will coordinate a new, information sharing network to allow for more intensive monitoring of known offenders. Modeled on the TimeZup Program, this effort will seek to reach younger offenders not yet targeted by existing coordination efforts. TimeZup is a U.S. Department of Justice program that features aggressive enforcement of federal and state firearms laws. The program aims to deter gun related criminal activity, principally among convicted felons, by prosecution and by offering the ex-offenders opportunities to make a successful transition back into the community. Partners are the police department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms, the State's Attorney's Office, the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Department of Corrections, Board of Parole, Office of Adult Probation, Juvenile Probation, CT Works, and STRIVE New Haven.


    The Mayor’s Office will launch a new public awareness campaign to amplify Guns off the Streets, with public service announcements and communiqués about taking guns out of the hands of kids. The campaign will energize the community to support enforcement efforts; alert offenders to the crackdown; and keep the community and media informed about the progress of the partners in reducing and combating gun crime.


    The Mayor also encouraged teens and their families to take advantage of summer programming. Parks and Recreation Department camp programs serve more than 2,700 children and the New Haven Public Schools’ summer programs serve 6,000. In addition, the City has launched two new programs of the Mayor’s Youth Initiative. They are:

    The Open Schools Summer Program, beginning Monday through August 11, Monday – Friday, from 3 – 8 p.m. at three locations: John S. Martinez in Fair Haven; King-Robinson in Newhallville and Hill Regional Career High School in the Hill. This 8-week program is free to teens ages 12 to 18. Teens who register may drop in on any of the workshop activities planned. For more information, call 946-7130.

    Youth @ Work has raised in excess of $1 million and will be able to employ more than 900 teens this summer, twice the amount the City was able to place last summer. Youth@Work is a public-private partnership of the City of New Haven, the New Haven Board of Education, Workforce Alliance, the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce and Empower New Haven. For more information, call (203) 946-7582.

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