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City Councilman Jumaane Williams, co-chair of the council’s Gun Violence Task Force who organized the march, lauded the mayor's ‘Gun Violence Crisis Management System’ he launched last summer.
The .7 million program provides funds and resources to anti-violence groups such as GMACC, where former gang members, called "violence interrupters," target the 14 neighborhoods that account for 51 percent of citywide shootings.
Jermaine Lawlor, a former gang member who now works with young people in Enfield, north London, explained that acid is preferred because it can be hidden in drinks bottles that police cannot easily detect if they perform a stop and search.
He said culprits also opted for the liquid because if they are caught using it in an attack, they serve up to six months in prison – compared to at least four years for a fatal knife crime.
And it’s not right.” Crimes involving acid have doubled in London in the past three years, figures show, and include 45 instances of the crime in April alone.
Acid has become the favoured weapon in gang wars in Britain because unlike a knife it can be thrown from a distance and easily concealed, a youth worker said.
They do not report to the NYPD, but work directly with those involved in gun violence, disrupt issues that escalate feuds and connect them with mentors and job opportunities.
“The police cannot be the only one when it comes to public safety,” said Williams, a police reform advocate.
“This is what we have to do if we want to solve gun violence.”He added that “violence interrupters” treat crime as a public health issue, a tactic that is working, Mc Phatter also stressed.
Sharlene Stewart, whose 19-year-old son Nicholas Walton was killed last year by two bullets to the chest by unknown assailants, applauded this “proactive” approach.“The guys at GMACC play a positive role for youths to follow, because they’ve been there and done that, and youths can relate with them better than the police,” said Stewart.
: “Acid is a weapon of choice primarily because it is easy to conceal. in a bottle, which means when the police stop you they’re not going to be able to detect it.