Utica. NY - Over the last two years the number of shots fired calls in Utica increased by 25 percent.
In 2019 there were zero gun homicides in Utica, in 2020 there were nine.
Thursday night Utica Councilman Delvin Moody held a meeting on Facebook to express his concern for the increase in gun violence in the city and call on the community to help.
“We have been here so many times before,” said Moody.
The number of non-fatal shootings in Utica rose by just over 30% from 2019 to 2020.
“I am in no way suggesting or believing that having conversations are the only way to address gun violence. In fact, that is the beginning and not the end,” said Moody. “The reality of it that is negative is that upticks of gun violence will happen again and again if we don't think about a long-term plan that really addresses the issue of gun violence in the area.”
His long-term ideas include: more youth mentorship programs, developing a team to come up with strategies to best work with law enforcement and the community, and building a strategy to focus on chronic offenders.
“When we have a spike that these agencies can then activate this group to begin to look at this issue and respond to the particular contents and elements of that particular spike. We have to deal with the housing crisis that we have in Utica. We have to deal with the access to healthcare problem that we have in Utica. We have to deal with the educational aspects of poverty,” said Moody.
Moody says that breaking the cycle of gun violence is not just centered on the police department but it is the community approach to the violence.
“Gun violence is a symptom of a bigger, socio-economic issue. It is an epidemic. It is a huge problem. This could be just how I feel, but when you have high poverty rates, limited access to jobs, educational gaps, when you have drugs and addicted in an area, mental health concerns in a particular area, all of those contribute to gun violence in an area. We have to address it as a socio-economic issue. We can’t only hit the issue of gun violence with brass; meaning with just strong law enforcement. That is not going to systemically change the issue.”
Following yesterday's pro-Trump riot at the capitol building, moody says that it’s time for the community to come together.
“We've seen divisiveness and violence all this year and it's time that we come together to address these issues and remember that we are human beings and that we ought to in some way care for one another,” said Moody.
Moody’s short term plans include: acquiring an ordinance for security cameras at apartment buildings in the city to help obtain evidence from shootings, reinstituting neighborhood watch in the area, develop mobile offices for access to government agencies.