STATEN ISLAND — Staten Island's District Attorney's office needs a $3 million infusion to fight drug and domestic violence crises, Mayor Bill de Blasio was told.
City Council members Steven Matteo, Debi Rose and Joe Borelli wrote a letter to de Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito asking them to increase the funding for the office in this year's budget.
"While we have been enjoying an historic era of low crime in this city, the recent uptick in violence and the surge in heroin and opiate addiction on Staten Island are very troubling signs," Matteo said in a statement.
"We need an all-hands-on-deck approach to combat this unprecedented drug epidemic, which threatens a generation of Islanders, and we must be ever vigilant to ensure that we maintain the high quality of life that has made this borough one of the safest places to live in this country.
"We cannot achieve any of this unless our district attorney has adequate resources."
Last fiscal year, the Staten Island District Attorney's office was allocated $9.61 million, which amounts to about $20.54 per resident, Matteo said.
In the same year, the Manhattan DA was allocated $98.35 million, about $60.11 per resident, he said.
"Staten Island faces serious criminal justice challenges — some of the most serious in the entire city — including a crippling drug epidemic, skyrocketing domestic violence rates and increasing instances of violent and gun related-incidents," DA Michael McMahon said in a statement.
"To better prevent crime and effectively prosecute drivers of crime, the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office must be adequately and fairly funded by the City of New York. It’s just that simple."
During his campaign for District Attorney, McMahon vowed that he would work to increase the funding of the office and tackle the drug and domestic violence problem in the borough when he took office.
Domestic violence in the borough has been on the rise for the past several years, with incidents rising by 64 percent from 2009 to 2014, but dropped in the past year.
Last year, the city broke ground on a Family Justice Center to offer support to victims which the mayor's office said would open in the spring.
"We look forward to working with the Council on these and many other issues throughout the budget process," a spokeswoman for the de Blasio said.
Aside from domestic violence, the borough also leads the city in prescription drug and opioid overdoses and de Blasio launched the "Mayor’s Heroin and Prescription Opioid Public Awareness Task Force," co-chaired by Staten Island Borough President James Oddo, last year.