ASK THE DA: Week of January 12

This past year was a very productive one for my office. Weimplemented a number of new programs aimed at making Brooklyn asafer place in which to live and work, celebrated the continuedsuccess of many of our existing programs and trial bureaus, andtook great measures to reduce the number of guns on the streets ofBrooklyn.

•Together with the police department and local churches, weconducted three gun buybacks this year, allowing participants tosurrender their guns in return for $200. As a result of theseinitiatives we collected 337 guns.

•It is with great pleasure that I announced findings of a studyconducted by faculty at Columbia University supporting Drew House,a pilot program which allows children to remain with their motherswho are charged with certain crimes while they serve theirsentences.

The study found that Drew House is beneficial because itstrengthens families without compromising public safety, providesthe women with a better chance to find employment and housingopportunities after serving 18-24 months in the program, and costssignificantly less than incarceration. Go house/DrewHouse Report.pdf for moreinformation.

•Also, many of our initiatives are focused on educating ourchildren. My Legal Lives Bureau has reached over 10,000 Brooklynfifth grade students and their parents in over 300 classrooms within-class lessons and takes home assignments, as well as a radioshow and mock trials.

•I created Safe Stop last August to provide a safe place foryouth, seniors and all others to go if they need help in case of anemergency. Local Brooklyn merchants who participate in Safe Stopdisplay decals in their store windows identifying them as adesignated Safe Stop location.

They receive specialized training on what to do if someone needshelp or simply wants information about the district attorney’soffice or the Police Department. The merchants are directed to call911 for emergencies that require immediate medical, police or fireresponse.

•Back on Track was added to our crime prevention initiatives andis designed to reduce crime and recidivism among youthful offendersand truants. The initial pilot program was started for young peoplein Brownsville who are in danger of becoming involved in thecriminal justice system, are chronically truant and are at risk ofdropping out of school. All services are provided within thecommunity and include the family.

•With Restart my office, together with the Department ofEducation and CPCA, offers an intensive educational program forstudents. These students are provided with assistance to help thempass the Middle School Exam so that they can go on to highschool.

•We had great success again this year with Project SafeSurrender which allows people to settle their long-outstandingwarrants and summonses before a judge at local churches which inturn will help these people to get jobs and move on with theirlives without the hindrance of a minor crime committed in theirpast.

We are here to protect you and will continue in our efforts tomake Brooklyn a safer place in the New Year. You can read moreabout our programs and the activities of my office I look forward to a very successful andproductive 2012, and wish you all a happy and healthy new year.

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