Yonkers unveils anti-gang task force to combat spike in gun violence

New York’s 4th largest city, Yonkers, is grappling with a 30% rise in gang shootings this year, even as other crimes are declining.

Now, the Mayor and the police department are turning to a new strategy involving the community so that law-abiding residents can live in safety and peace.

“Let me be clear,” Mayor Mike Spano said at a news conference on Thursday. “Yonkers does not tolerate this type of crime and we want to send a message.”

Spano, law enforcement officials, and community leaders came together to announce that they are working on a unified, multi-layered strategy that will use prevention as well as enforcement.

“I have asked our police department to organize a comprehensive approach to target the crime that has led to these vicious attacks,” Spano said.

“Our role with this is going to be to try to reach those young men who for whatever reason feel like violence is the only way that they can resolve their issues,” said Jim Bostic. Executive Director of the Nepperhan Community Center.

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Calling it the Anti-Group Initiative, the Yonkers Police Department will mobilize its assets like K-9 units and mobile command posts for a quicker, more effective response in the areas hit hardest by gang and gun violence.

For local residents, the extra help from police could not come fast enough and that they hope change comes soon.

The Mayor says the people of Yonkers can expect to see an increased police presence and that they will also be working with other law enforcement partners to break up any organized gangs using young teens as shooters.