Prompted by the concerns of black clergy members in crime-plagued sections of central Brooklyn, the New York Police Department has set up a task force aimed at reducing violent crime there, particularly among black people.
The Brooklyn Clergy/N.Y.P.D Task Force was created after clergy members approached the department.
“We’re killing ourselves with black-on-black crime,” Bishop Gerald Seabrooks of the Rehoboth Cathedral said at a news conference on Wednesday with other clergy members and police officers at 1 Police Plaza. “We cannot blame it on the police or on any other groups.”
He said religious leaders wanted to send a message “that we want to stop homicide, violence and shootings of any kind of people, but especially we want to speak out on black-on-black shooting — hurting, harming or endangering one another.”
Police officials have previously taken their crime-fighting strategies, often rooted in community policing, to several dangerous pockets of the city. But in this case, community members reversed things and came to them, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said.
Mr. Kelly said that the department responded by forming a task force with a plan for forging alliances between the department and clergy members and reducing violent crime, “in the African-American community in particular.”
Under the plan, Mr. Kelly said, clergy members will, among other steps, try to persuade young people to avoid being involved in gangs. He said women in the department’s executive corps would reach out to women in the community, many of them grandmothers who are the primary caregivers of young people, to keep the youngsters “out of harm’s way.” And he said the department would also expand church-based gun buyback programs.
Mr. Kelly said he hoped similar arrangements could be carried out across the city.