Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza this week announced the release of the Advisory Council to Reduce Gun Violence's inaugural report. The executive report outlines gun violence trends and presents recommendations to further reduce violence within the City of Providence.
"Thanks to the work of our police department, the work of all of our community partners, the expanded recreational opportunities, and recommendations from the Advisory Council, we are seeing dramatic decreases in shootings and gun violence throughout the city," said Mayor Elorza. "It takes an entire village to keep our streets safe and Providence is standing together to stop gun violence."
In November 2015, Elorza issued an executive order commissioning the Advisory Council to Reduce Gun Violence. The council, composed of criminal justice, conflict resolution and social justice experts, worked closely with one another over the past year to develop a collaborative strategy for gun violence reduction that is based on best practices.
"The Mayor's Advisory Council to Reduce Gun Violence is eager to release its first annual report and to begin the implementation of the recommendations," said Sol Rodriguez, Executive Director of Open Doors and member of the Advisory Council. "The report lays out specific strategies that have shown promise in other jurisdictions. Gun violence is a complicated problem that demands multiple approaches and Mayor Elorza and members of the council are committed to continuing this important work."
Elorza's Advisory Council to Reduce Gun Violence examined gun violence data within the city and outlined promising trends from recent years. In 2016, Providence had the fewest homicides in 30 years and the city saw a 37 percent decline in shootings as compared to 2015. Additionally, in 2016 no gang-related homicides were reported in the capital city.
The council has also submitted recommendations to continue building upon this positive trend that aim to create even stronger partnerships between the Providence Police Department and community-based organizations, promote positive opportunities for youth, and reduce the number illegal guns in the city. Moving forward, this report will serve as the roadmap for the police department and Mayor's Office for further reducing gun violence within the city.
"Providence Police took recommendations and ideas from the Advisory Council to further understand the travel of guns, the demographics of victims and suspects, and programs to educate and inform the scope of the gun violence in the city," said Public Safety Commissioner Steven M. Paré. "We are grateful for their time and interest in creating different ways to positively impact gun violence. Without a doubt, the role of the council has had an impact on the reduction of gun violence and the success of better understanding the scope and causes of shootings."
Over the past year, the council has helped institute a number of policies and programs that have aided the administration's effort to reduce gun violence. A gun amnesty program allowing individuals to turn in unwanted firearms has been created within the Providence Police Department. The program, coupled with the department's anonymous gun tip line (1-844-NO2GUNS), has helped get illegal guns off of our streets. The police department has also offered free gun locks for residents to promote responsible gun ownership, and will continue to do so while supplies last.
Additionally, a youth convening was organized to uplift youth perspectives on gun violence and engage youth in the policy process. The council will continue to engage young adults in these conversations moving forward so that gun violence reduction strategies are informed by the experiences of youth most impacted.
The advisory council will continue into the next year with the following appointments, which include community stakeholders, policy professionals and public safety officials:
• PJ Fox, Executive Director of the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence
• Sol Rodriguez, Executive Director of Open Doors
• Pilar McCloud, Chairwoman of the NAACP Youth Division
• Dr. Toby Ayers, Executive Director of Rhode Island for Community and Justice
• Jordan Seaberry, Chairman of the Univocal Legislative Minority Advisory Commission
• Steven Paré, Commissioner of Public Safety
• Hugh Clements, Colonel, Chief of Providence Police Department
• Anthony Roberson, Detective, Providence Police Department
• Oscar Perez, Major, Providence Police Department
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