Local pols advocate for gun control in Coney

July 7, 2015 Renee Saff
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The gun violence that has recently plagued the Coney Island community has got to end.

That was the message as Councilmember Mark Treyger held a press conference on Monday, June 29 at the Coney Island Houses to call on City Hall and the NYPD to take action to stop the scourge of shootings.

“The city’s response to gun violence impacting Coney Island and other parts of the city will ultimately be judged a success only through a significant drop in shooting incidents, the reopening of community centers damaged by Sandy and the commitment of greater resources to the West End of Coney Island,” Treyger said. “Residents are tired of hearing about historical trends and need tangible action and results.”

Treyger, along with State Senator Diane Savino, community leaders, clergy members and residents, stood outside at West 30th Street and Surf Avenue to lay out a number of requests to the de Blasio administration, the NYPD and the Parks Department to reduce gun violence, especially in the neighborhood’s residential west end. The conference came after a series of recent shootings throughout Coney Island, including at least four in the prior week.

“The task of eliminating shootings in our community is going to take a collaborative partnership from our elected officials, the NYPD, community residents and community organizations,” said community leader Edwin Cosme. “There are a number of strategies and city programs that are needed to address this problem.”

During the conference, Treyger proposed that the NYPD expand its Summer All Out and One City: Safe and Fair Everywhere initiative to the 60th Precinct and allocate additional Parks Enforcement Patrol officers to the amusement park area to free up precinct officers to patrol residential areas.

He also called for the addition of Public Service Area 1 Housing Officers, the implementation of ShotSpotter technology to gain accurate statistics regarding the frequency and location of all shootings that occur in the 60th Precinct, and the reopening of NYCHA community centers that were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.

“As someone who has been affected by gun violence personally, I feel that we older brothers need to step up and become more active in the community and take responsibility,” said Keith Suber, a resident and community activist. “With that being said, there also should be funding made available for organizations who have credibility on the streets to help prevent these incidents from occurring.”

Since the beginning of the year, there have been at least 12 shootings in the 60th Precinct, which covers Sea Gate, Coney Island, Brighton Beach, West Brighton Beach and Bensonhurst. Over the past few days, a 19-year-old man was shot in the leg on West 24th Street, a 23-year-old man was shot in the eye at Mermaid Avenue and West 24th Street, and a 51-year-old man was fatally shot at the corner of Neptune Avenue and Bayview Avenue, adjacent to Kaiser Park.

“No neighborhood in America should live under such duress and worry about the personal safety of local residents,” said Dr. Mathylde Frontus, acting chair of the Coney Island Anti-Violence Collaborative.

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