After a recent rash of shootings, government and community officials Tuesday called for a new, coordinated effort to battle neighborhood violence, especially gunplay, in seven Nassau communities.
"There have been five shootings in just one week this month, a noticeable increase in armed robberies, and several social gatherings have turned into violent outbreaks with tragic outcomes," said Nassau County Legis. Kevan Abrahams (D-Hempstead) at a news conference held at the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Park in Uniondale.
Nassau Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey said violence in the seven communities - Hempstead, Uniondale, Roosevelt, Freeport, Lakeview, Westbury and Elmont - is disproportionately high. Mulvey said the police department is "committed to reducing such violence."
He added that he is looking at new technology to go with the "shot-spotter" initiative that began last year. The system captures the sound of gunshots monitored by police and helps them to respond quickly.
Claiming that the county is "losing a generation of young people to senseless violence on the streets," District Attorney Kathleen Rice said: "I have one message for those who are carrying out this violence . . . you will either end up dead or in prison . . . there is no happy ending."
While Rice talked about the devastation to families of those killed, Hempstead Mayor Wayne Hall told nearly 50 people the impact the death of his 18-year-old grandnephew had on his family. The boy was killed in a drive-by shooting. Later, talking to a small group, he said the boy's father still was depressed about his son's death, which occurred a week before Christmas.
"But what really upsets me," Hall said, "is that there is no outrage in our communities about these killings. It's like we've accepted them as being normal. It's not, and we should be outraged and do something about it."