By Vanity Delbridge, SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – The death toll is on the rise in Syracuse. The latest case is a string of gun related fatalities.
The city’s increase in gun violence is something residents know all too well. Pastor, and Community Activist Erik Eure, is prayerful: “On the one hand the community cries for change, but it’s the community that can empower the police department, to have what they need to bring somebody to justice for a life that’s lost.”
According to WYSR, the city has its share of socio-economic problems. About one third of the population lives below the poverty line. Some major factors include a lack of educational opportunities and diminished social skills.
Funding for the city’s education system has been crippled due to the low property values. With low property tax rates comes low tax accumulation. Low taxes result in a lack of sustainable funding for Syracuse’s school district.
According to Patricia Body, commissioner for Syracuse’s Board of Education, 18- percent of the school district’s budget is generated from local property taxes. The other 82- percent comes from New York State.
“I’m not surprised that violence is a by-product of some of those statistics that we find alarming,” says Eure.
Last year, New York State unveiled a two-part plan to combat rising gun violence in Syracuse. The aid would come through an increase in funding for community programs and establishing a greater police presence in the city’s most at-risk communities.
“I definitely think that an increase in community policing, and increase in community program, is definitely a step in the right direction,” Eure says. “As far as community programs, that’s definitely a help to address some of the social issues: family development, educational enhancement, socializing through sports and activities.”