Utica, N.Y. - With a recent spike in gun violence in the city of Utica, many people are looking for solutions to prevent it in the future.
Many are hoping Saturday's first ever 'Solutions Summit' at the Parkway Recreation Center in Utica is the beginning of a new era in the city.
Tony Colon is chairman of the Access and Inclusion Committee in Utica which was put together five years ago to bring people together to solve problems in Utica and it is the very organization that put together this 'Solutions Summit'.
Colon says the goal is to get constructive input from the public as well as all entities involved, from police, to the district attorneys office, to the people on the ground in the inner city trying to help young people to come up with some solutions.
He says getting the community involved is key in preventing gun violence, "it's a three legged stool and certainly one of those legs, a very critical part of that, is the community and hopefully from this will come some solutions that we can all work on."
Oneida County Assistant District Attorney Mike Nolan spoke about how important it is to get not only witnesses to cooperate with a police investigation, but victims as well. He says otherwise the young people think they can get away with gun violence because they know people are too afraid to testify.
Utica Police officials also spoke and said many crimes are a result of retaliation by victims or their family members because the shooters are not brought to justice, in many cases because witnesses won't cooperate.
After all the speakers spoke, came the breakout sessions.
There were six tables, where all of those who spoke to the audience of about 100 people then sat down and spoke to members of the community to work on coming up with solutions.
Colon says this is a great start and says the people at each of the tables have all decided to come together again in the next couple of weeks and come up with a list of five or six solid ideas that can be turned into working solutions to help prevent gun violence in the city in the future.