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      New initiative to combat Syracuse gang violence spearheaded by federal prosecutors

      A new effort is underway to combat gang violence in Central New York.

      Syracuse is one of just nine cities across the country to get federal funds for a new program.

      The grant under the Department of Justice's Project Safe Neighborhoods Program will provide $300,000 to fund "Syracuse Truce."

      The program involves law enforcement officials and community organizations working together to fight the problem.

      Organizers say they'll use many different strategies, including enhanced enforcement, more patrols on the street, and outreach programs to communicate with those affected by gangs.

      As part of the effort, gun crimes committed by one gang member will result in more scrutiny of the entire gang. There will also be 40 street saturation patrols and probation or parole visits to offenders in a gang's area.

      Convictions for gang-related activity will be featured on billboards and bus signs, and individuals from neighborhood organizations and clergy will encouraged to help deliver an anti-violence message.

      Today's announcement was held a day after a member of a violent Syracuse street gang was sentenced and a member of another gang pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges.

      Prosecutors say 25-year-old Jerome Clarke was sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to criminal activity carried out while he was a member of the Bricktown Gang .

      Authorities say 27-year-old Jeffrey Powell pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges. Officials say he's the first of 11 members of the V-NOT gang to plead guilty to the charges.