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New committee in the works to make neighborhoods safer

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Buffalo: New committee in the works to make neighborhoods safer
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As Buffalo police investigate this week's deadly double shooting on Minnesota Avenue, there's a new committee in the works to make Buffalo and Erie County safer. YNN's Kaitlyn Lionti tells us more about the effort and a plea from a mother of one of the victims.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Buffalo Police report 46 people have been killed in the city of Buffalo so far this year, including 23-year-old Joshua Eatmon and 28-year-old Shameka Harris.

Both were shot outside their home on Minnesota Avenue earlier this week. Her mother says Harris left behind four children, between the ages of 2 and 11.

"She was a good mother. I don't know why she was, you know, targeted or nothing like that, because I never know her to be in no trouble," said Odessa Harris, Shameka's mother. "If anybody seen anything, will you all please come forward?"

Harris joined several non violence organizations, clergy members and community representatives Wednesday outside her daughter's house - calling for an end to violent crimes.

But Erie County Legislature Chair Betty Jean Grant says this effort is different, because she's creating an Ad Hoc committee called the Buffalo and Erie County Safe Neighborhood Initiative.

"A lot of times we work with different groups, areas, nothing get solved. We're going to make sure there's a counseling component available, mentoring for our young people, make sure they stay in school, make sure they get jobs if they're out of school," said Grant.

Grant says she's currently working to recruit members of the committee, hoping to bring together elected officials, law enforcement and community members to meet on a monthly basis - and bring some real changes to the city and the county.

"This is about a climate and an atmosphere that says to the perpetrators that it's alright to shoot someone whether it's in broad daylight or the middle of the night. We have to come together to change this climate," said Pastor James Giles of Back to Basics Outreach Ministries.

And they say it starts with speaking out against those committing crimes.

"Just not saying anything, it's going to get badder and badder," said Harris.

Harris is reaching out to the community to help her four grandchildren. She says their house is currently boarded up and so right now, they have nothing. Anyone willing to help or interested in joining the new committee can call Betty Jean Grant's office at 716-858-8527.

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