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      Larry Williams heads new effort to reduce gang violence in Syracuse

      Larry Williams

      As part of an effort to reduce crime in Syracuse, Mayor Stephanie Miner is expanding the Truce program and has hired a Gang Project Director.

      Lawrence Williams has a background in education, is a former probation officer and as headed up recreational programs in Syracuse. When asked how he would reach out to gang members, Williams told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon, "They're community members and that's how I like to look at them... they are community members and we're offering support for those community members."

      A s police continue to crack down on gang activity , the Truce program tries to persuade gang members to give up that lifestyle and do something meaningful with their lives. With the help of life coaches, Truce steers gang members into social service, substance abuse... educational and jobs programs.

      M ayor Miner says since last year, Truce notification meetings have been held with more than 200 gang members. 35 of them have accepted services. As a result, the Mayor claims there has been a 32 percent decline in gang related shooting and homicides.

      Williams hopes to improve the success of the program. "It is extending all the wonderful resources that we have right here in our community to offer the support to those that need an opportunity to step away from the gang lifestyle."

      T he expansion on the truce program and the hiring of Lawrence Williams as Gang Project Director will be covered by a $1.5 million grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.