The battle against gun violence in Syracuse is one fought by police, as well as a number of non-profit groups that work to stop such activity before it starts. And soon, there's expected to be some extra money to help them with their mission. Our Sarah Blazonis has more on the new partnership making this possible.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The partnership is between the city of Syracuse and a group called Liberty United. It's the third such partnership, along with Newburgh, N.Y. and Philadelphia, Pa., to take this step to turn seized weapons into tools against the kind of violence they helped to create.
At first glance, they're just pieces of jewelry. But look closer and you can find evidence of their violent past.
"Guns are primarily made of steel. We've only used steel in the manufacturing of jewelry so far. We also receive shell casings," said Peter Thum, founder of Liberty United.
Not the usual first life for most accessories. But Liberty United says it's turned illegal weapons into thousands of dollars worth of everything from bracelets to necklaces. The supplies come from the evidence rooms of participating departments. Its latest partner: Syracuse Police.
"The number of guns we've seized and recovered is much higher than it was last year: 253 for this year so far. I believe last year, the entire year, we recovered around 240," said Syracuse Police Deputy Chief Joe Cecile.
Those will also be melted down and handed over to be used in artists' creations once cases are closed. Twenty-five percent of the proceeds will then come back to the community and given to non-profits working to end gun violence in the city.
One of the reasons Syracuse was chosen was officials' openness to trying a new idea.
Thum said, "A lot of cities have faced significant financial problems. So if you look in many places where we've had conversations with cities, they have tremendous issues to deal with and coming with a new idea is hard for them to deal with."
Another reason is the problem with gun violence. Police responded to 181 shots fired incidents so far this year and 58 with injuries.
Mayor Stephanie Miner says that's about on par with last year. But the type of violence is changing.
"A lot of the homicides we've seen this year have not been gang associated. So with innovative programs like Operation Truce, we're working with our non-profits, with doing the juvenile work that we have done, I think we have made progress," said Miner.
The jewelry will be available to buy at libertyunited.com.
You'll also be able to choose what community proceeds from your purchase will go to in order to make sure Syracuse benefits from your order.
Officials are still in the process of deciding which groups will benefit from the partnership. They're also not sure how much money will come into the community as a result of this partnership. They say it's still too early in the process to know that.