Safer Streets, Preventing Gun Violence, and Police Accountability

The pervasive and systemic racism of our criminal justice system has taken an unspeakable toll on people of color and the communities we live in. Outrageous arrest disparities, selective policing, bail laws that discriminate against low-income people, and a lack of adequate support for diversion and re-entry programs has created an environment where minor mistakes made by young people result in lifelong punishments and lack of opportunity to better themselves and realize their full potential.  While certain crimes are increasing, once again we see that the same communities bearing the brunt of the crime increase are the same ones where mistrust of the police is at an all-time high due to police brutality and a lack of accountability for officers who cross the line. Bronx residents need to feel safe in their homes and on their streets, but they also deserve a police force that respects and protects them.  We need to change the culture within the NYPD, and that starts with holding police accountable for misconduct and brutality.  Beyond this, we need to reprioritize police funding to expand community policing and ensure that police are tasked with responding to actual crimes, not mental health episodes, day to day school security or other roles outside their areas of expertise.

With gun violence on the rise, we must begin treating gun violence as the public health crisis it is, rather than just an issue of law enforcement, and we need to invest in proven programs that help young people get out or stay out of gangs, so we can break the cycle of gang violence in our borough.

No matter how many times we say their names, no matter how many times we see videos of unarmed black and brown individuals killed by police, these acts continue to occur leaving a wake of division and devastation. For years, Council Member Salamanca has been vocal in calling for more peer-to-peer/social worker resources when responding to 911 calls. He has worked to address the opioid epidemic, working with the Acacia network to create the Bronx Opioid Collective Impact Project, knowing that the city can never arrest its way out of a drug epidemic. Similarly, Salamanca has fought for permanent housing for homeless New Yorkers and opposed the Mayor’s plan to have NYPD remove our most vulnerable populations from subway cars or platforms.

While supporting the Council’s actions to close the barbaric Rikers Island jail complex, as Chair of Land Use, Salamanca secured legislation to ensure that Rikers will never be used as a jail after it closes in 2025. He is also a leading voice for shutting down the Vernon C. Bain Center, known as the Barge, which was supposed to be a temporary solution to overcrowding on Rikers when it opened 28 years ago.

Salamanca's Plan for a Safer and More Just Bronx

All members of our community deserve to feel safe here, and we must work together to reduce crime and keep our neighborhoods safe. Strong partnerships are critical, and Rafael will work to improve relationships between law enforcement and our community, demand accountability, and support programs that prevent gun violence.

                 Work to improve relationships between communities and the police precincts that serve them.

                 Demand much greater diversity in the top ranks of the NYPD

                 Hold precinct commanders responsible for misconduct that happens on their watch

                 Advocate for certain responsibilities -- like responding to people in a mental health crisis or the homeless -- to be transitioned to city agencies that are specifically trained and equipped to handle them, not continuing to rely on police to respond.

                 Fight to end the use of the jail barge off the coast of the Bronx.

                 Partner with Legal Aid Society to host Know Your Rights Seminars.

                 Work with community groups to educate the public about opportunities to expunge criminal records.

                 Sponsor 24/7 gun buybacks.

                 Work with the Parks Department to secure better lighting and to install more Blue Light Helps Points in our parks.

                 Commission a study to determine potential uses for Rikers Island and the Barge -- they are Bronx land, and the Bronx should be able to decide their future.

                 Work with DA Darcel Clark to support diversion and gun violence interruption programs

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