Yonkers city, community leaders explore solutions to gang violence

The meeting comes following two back-to-back gang shootings that rocked the City of Hills last Saturday injuring five innocent bystanders.

Nadia Galindo

Jul 20, 2022, 9:48 PM

Updated 678 days ago

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Things heated up inside Nepperhan Community Center on Wednesday.
It wasn't only because of the lack of air conditioning, but because city and community leaders came together to tackle an urgent issue - gang violence.
"We don’t want our children to die in the streets of our cities, there has got to be an alternative. That’s what today was about," said Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano.
The meeting comes following two back-to-back gang shootings that rocked the City of Hills last Saturday injuring five innocent bystanders.
No arrest have been made.
Yonkers Police Commissioner Chris Sapienza attended the meeting and said the shootings appear to be acts of retaliation between rival gangs.
"We have to get to the root of the problem we need to develop information on the gang activity and the reason behind this," said Sapienza.
The roundtable discussion was organized by the center’s executive director Dr. Jim Bostic.
He said his takeaway from the meeting is the need to create a list of resources to reach the city’s youth.
"We need to create an asset map that highlights were services are being provided in our city but also red flags where there are gaps and no services," he said.
Services like SNUG, which operates out of Yonkers Family YMCA, works to provide alternatives to gang-affiliated youth.
Leaders agree addressing underlying conditions like poverty and mental health are also important.
"This is a public health crisis that we are in," said Lucria Ortiz, President & CEO of Yonkers Family YMCA. "We have to treat it as a public health problem and not something we enforce our way out of."


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