Mastermind behind Syracuse TRUCE program praises city's implementation

Published 04/25 2014 12:20AM

Updated 04/25 2014 01:12AM

Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – While councilors, the police chief and the mayor have sung their praises for the anti-violence Syracuse TRUCE program, it’s latest praise comes from someone who knows how it's supposed to work more than anyone else in the country; its creator.

The architect of the concept, David Kennedy, was in Syracuse to access the program and gave great reviews.

“I'll tell you for the first time in the 30 years that I've been doing this, I actually feel optimistic,” Kennedy said.

The program has reduced homicide rates in some cities by as much as 60 percent and in Syracuse, the number of gang related homicides and gunfire injuries have seen a decrease since the implementation of the system.

“I don't like to talk about the results of a game until the whistle blows, but since you asked me and put me on the spot, I would say it's successful,” said Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler.

Kennedy’s program has been launched and lauded in other cities like Boston, where the drop in gun violence was dubbed the “Boston Miracle.”

But, Kennedy said it doesn't take a miracle for the program to be successful. It takes hard work.

In Syracuse, a series of face-to-face meetings to offer gang members a way out, has led to 35 people seeking help through the program.

“If you've got 1,000 gang members, you've got these face-to-face meetings and you get substantial reductions in gun violence, which looks to be what's happening in the city. That's not because 1,000 people have turned their lives around and have got to work, it's because most of these 1,000 people have simply stopped acting violently,” Kennedy said. “We don't judge this by how many people get jobs any more than how many people go to federal prison. We judge it by whether the violence changes.”

Anyone wanting to seek help through Syracuse TRUCE can visit their new Facebook page here or call (315) 475-9712.

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