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Local Officials Hope New Funding for Youth Programs Will Stem Youth Related Violence

On Friday, Erie County Majority Leader

and 6th District Legislator Maria Whyte (D-Buffalo) was joined by Legislator Betty Jean Grant, Niagara District Council Member David Rivera (D), members of the Buffalo Police Department, a representative from NYS Assembly Member Sam Hoyt’s office, directors and staff from several West Side youth organizations, and the Stop the Violence Coalition, in a press conference to talk about recent efforts to gain more funding for local youth programming to counter the rise in youth related crime on the West Side.  The press conference took place at the intersection of Grant and W. Delavan, the site of a recent homicide.  Many members and residents of the local neighborhood were in attendance.

Much of the recent violence on the West Side has involved youngsters and Whyte feels that improving and expanding local youth programming would be an effective measure in keeping young people off the streets.  She stated, “Without good alternatives, such as quality youth programming and employment opportunities, our young men and women are going to fall into bad situations.  I have always, from day one, believed that the best crime prevention tool we have is youth programming and for this reason, I have fought to secure Summer Primetime youth programming funds for organizations in my district.”
 
Whyte anounced the 2009 recipients of the Summer Primetime funds, and thanked her colleagues on the Erie county Legislature for their help and support in securing these funds.
Council Member Rivera, a former Buffalo Police officer, who wants more crime survaillance cameras in his district, agreed with Whyte’s assessment: “The best assisstance we can give our law enforcement officers in their effort to curb crime among young people is to fight for youth programming.  Without some place to go, and something to do, kids are going to get into trouble.  We need to proide them real alternatives.”  He added, “Several members of the Police Department, including Chiefs, have attended meetings about youth programming and crime prevention in my district.”
County Executive Chris Collins has indicated that he will re-examine all non-mandated programs and reconsider the county’s participation in them.  

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