Bronx anti-crime group takes stand against gun violence

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THE BRONX -

An anti-crime group is fighting against gun violence throughout the Bronx.

"I was out in the streets, selling drugs, carrying guns," says Kwame Thompson, outreach supervisor of the grassroots organization Stand Up To Violence. "I know firsthand the damage a gun can cause."

He says he wants to prevent similar pain for others through his work with Stand Up To Violence, which treats gun violence like a disease.

"What we do is we use credible messengers," Thompson says. "People that's from the community, that have a past. This is a program that doesn't judge people."

Some of those credible messengers include Norma Saunders, the tenants association president for the Bronx River Houses, and Skrilla, who spent seven years in prison for assault. Both work with Stand Up To Violence to show youth that there are other ways of handling situations besides turning to violence.

Stand Up To Violence has been operating in the 43rd Precinct for two years in collaboration with NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi. Hospital statistics show that shootings have fallen from 23 in 2015 to 14 as of last year, marking a 39 percent decrease.

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