The city is taking a new approach on gun violence, with the creation of a new court and police division focused solely on addressing such crimes from throughout the city.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday a new strategy, called Project Fast Track, which will consist of a new gun court in Brooklyn and a 200-officer division.
“New Yorkers in every neighborhood in this city are united in their desire for safe streets,” de Blasio said. “To the few individuals responsible for New York City’s remaining gun violence, our message is clear: you will be found and you will be quickly prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
Following this effort, any individual who is charged with possession of a firearm will have to report to the State Supreme Court in Brooklyn — where specific judges will be in charge of arraignments, indictments and trials.
The courts will work together with the Gun Violence Suppression Division, which will handle all police investigations dealing with illegal firearms, shootings and gangs. An individual officer will be assigned to oversee each case from start to finish.
The strategy will also include constant communication between prosecutors and police; quick prosecution of illegal gun cases; and cooperation with federal law enforcement.
Current court and police resources will be used for this plan, with an extra $2 million going to the city medical examiner for quick testing of DNA evidence from illegal firearms.
As part of the plan, the NYPD will also look to target any social media content documenting illegal gun case outcome.
“Precision policing — efforts like our violence reduction task forces, gang takedowns, and our Summer All Out — has seen results,” Police Commissioner William Bratton said. “But precision policing has to be accompanied by precision prosecution. And that’s what we hope today’s announcement will achieve.”
The strategy will be evaluated over the next nine months to see if an expansion is appropriate.
This is not the city’s first attempt to create such a court focused on gun cases. This current plan is based on the successes of a court created in 2003 in Brooklyn — which came to an end years later.
The newly created court will be designed to resolve illegal gun cases within six months — hoping to reduce the average daily population in city jails by about 98 inmates.
Although shootings have gone down by 78 percent over the last 20 years, there have been isolated shooting incidents involving gangs and street crews, according to the mayor.
Through the effort the mayor plans to continue the decline in shootings and also apprehend individuals who are behind the gun violence in the city.