Updated: 09/27/2013 7:47 PM
Created: 09/27/2013 6:57 AM WHEC.com
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says community involvement is the key to cutting down on violence in our streets.
The type of community involvement is the key element behind "Project Exile", a program to get illegal guns off city streets. "Project Exile" was started in our area back in 1998, making Rochester the second city to implement the program in the United States.
Camp Good Days founder Gary Mervis got the ball rolling on the program in Rochester after attending a meeting with a federal judge. Mervis says he feels proud of the work that's been done to clean up Rochester.
Gary Mervis, "Project Exile", said, "I like this program because you can see at the end of the year just how many guns did you take out of the hands of people that lost the right to have them and what was the prosecution? did we get stiffer sentences."
Mervis was joined by other community leaders, along with New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman at the Rochester Plaza Hotel to celebrate 15 years for "Project Exile". In that time, Mervis says 15,000 guns have been taken off the streets of Rochester.
Eric Schneiderman, NYS Attorney General, said, "When you get the community speaking with a united voice, you can get folks in law enforcement to lay aside their egos and their difference to work together. You get folks coming forward with information for law enforcement, it all works when the community and law enforcement work together and "Project Exile" is just a great example of uniting people."
While programs like "Project Exile" have made major strides when it comes to preventing violence, there's still a long way to go.