Funding to fight back against gun related crimes

By Brandi Bailey

February 12, 2014 Updated Feb 12, 2014 at 6:26 PM EST

(WBNG Binghamton) Operation IMPACT was a decade long program designed to keep streets safe. It's now being replaced with a competitive funding initiative focused on gun violence.

Governor Andrew Cuomo brought on the competitive funding. Broome County made the list of 17 counties that have the highest gun related crimes.

It's called the Gun Involved Violence Elimination Initiative or GIVE.

It's designed to build off of Operation IMPACT but focusing strongly on guns and keeping them out of the wrong hands.

Each county will have to come up with its own plan to promote strong evidence-based strategies to reduce gun violence.

There are four key elements departments need to focus on.

Departments need to focus on people and key repeat offenders. Also, hot spots that have shown significant gun violence.

Law enforcement will need to coordinate with other crime intervention groups and work with the community to reduce the violence.

"Where there's drugs, there's guns so there's no doubt that we have our drug problem in the city of Binghamton like every other city our size and bigger," Binghamton Police Chief Joseph Zikuski said.

Zikuski says when it comes to gun violence, Broome County is at the bottom of the list of 17 counties but there still have been 101 gun related crimes in the last three years.

Broome County will be able to apply for up to $500,000. Both city and county law enforcement are excited to see how the funding could assist in fighting back against gun violence.

Applications are due in March and funding is expected to be distributed in early spring.