In a similar fashion to what Governor Andrew Cuomo did earlier this month, Erie County has declared that the gun violence that plagues our region is a public health crisis.

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According to a report by WKBW-TV, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz issued an executive order specifically designating gun violence as a major threat to the health of the general public. Poloncarz was joined by April Baskin, Chairwoman of the Erie County Legislature, along with various members of the Legislature, staff from the Erie County District Attorney's office, and many other county officials in a press conference earlier today.

Officials from Erie County have released data that show gun-related homicides have increased every year since 2017. In fact, the firearms-related violent crime rate in Erie County is more than double the New York State average and is also significantly higher than the rate in New York City.

This executive order will work in a similar manner to a state of emergency and will allow the county government to direct additional funds into crime-fighting and crime prevention efforts.

In addition to some state grants that have already been allocated to Erie County, officials are looking to direct another approximately $500,000.00 towards helping at-risk youth get off the streets.

There appears to be an all-hands-on-deck effort to help make our neighborhoods safer.

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