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Buffalo recognized for efforts to deter gun violence

Thomas O'Neil-White

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown joined law enforcement, leadership from Buffalo Public Schools, and other community leadership to announce a meeting with anti-gun violence organization Cities United about the success the city has had in curbing gun related crimes.

Brown there was not one specific initiative or program which has led to a reduction in gun related crimes, but said a concerted effort to involve the community was a crucial first step.

“Reducing gun violence in our city is more than just a policing effort,” he said. “It requires partnerships with our city schools, community centers, block club leaders, religious leaders, and most importantly, our young people.”

Brown said gun related crimes have decreased by nearly 20% since 2014.

Cities United Executive Director Anthony Smith said he will be taking the strategies being used here and sharing them with other mayors from across the country.

Credit Thomas O'Neil-White
Cities United Executive Director Anthony Smith

“What is the best practices around youth-adult partnerships? And how to you bring young people to the table and really make sure they’re a part of it?” he said. “And we’re here today to really look at some of the programs and some of the initiatives that you have been doing here in Buffalo to really make sure we can find some the opportunities to showcase your work.”

Smith said focusing resources on young men who are most likely to be affected by gun violence, whether it be the victim or the perpetrator, is something a local group like the Peacemakers does well. Smith said he is hopeful the partnership between his organization and the City of Buffalo will continue.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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