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Hochul: 'Significant progress' in fight against gun violence in Buffalo


Fri, Jul 28th 2023 01:25 pm

Buffalo Police Department reported 73% decline in firearm-involved homicides, 60% decline in number of individuals injured by gunfire, 59% decline in shooting incidents, when comparing the first half of 2023 to same timeframe in 2021

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday announced “significant progress” in the fight against gun violence in the City of Buffalo. 

Her team said, “Data reported by the city's Police Department for the first half of 2023 when compared to the same timeframe in 2021 showed a 73% decline in the number of firearm-involved homicides; 60% decline in those injured by gunfire; and a 59% decline in shooting incidents. Buffalo’s reductions in gun violence during the first six months of this year led the 20 police departments that participate in the state’s Gun Involved Violence Elimination (GIVE) initiative and builds upon double-digit decreases in shooting incidents with injuries and individuals shot in 2022.”

Hochul also announced $2 million in new state funding for community-based organizations in Buffalo, one of seven cities participating in a new program designed to strengthen neighborhoods affected by gun violence.

“From law enforcement officers to elected officials, ensuring public safety is a responsibility that falls on each of us,” she said. “We have made record-level investments to address the scourge of gun violence affecting our communities, and we’re extremely proud of the progress we’ve made in Buffalo and across our state – but there’s more work to be done. We won’t rest until gun violence is an afterthought and every New Yorker can live in the safe, peaceful community they deserve.”

Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado said, “New York is proof that, when we invest in communities, build partnerships with law enforcement, and commit to proven strategies, we can save lives, heal from the trauma of gun violence, and build safer neighborhoods statewide. We are proud to pave the way towards a brighter future for our state and for the nation.”

Hochul, this morning, visited the Buffalo Police Department, where she outlined the city’s “tremendous progress in fighting gun violence, as well as investments and actions she has taken to address the pandemic-era spike, including the creation of the Interstate Task Force on Illegal Guns.” 

Her team said, “Last year, the Buffalo Police seized the most guns since 2010: 956 guns, including 76 ghost guns. At the same time, police agencies across the state seized 10,427 illegal guns, a 65% increase when compared to 2019 (6,338 guns) and a 15% increase when compared to 2021 (9,088 guns).

“During the first half of 2023, police agencies across the state seized 4,611 illegal guns – fewer than the same timeframe last year, but a 52% increase since 2019. New York State Police has seized 6% more guns in the first six months of this year and 166% more guns than the agency did in 2019.”

January-June of Each Year






Statewide Gun Seizures






New York State Police Gun Seizures






The press release added, “In Buffalo, there were 29 fewer individuals killed (11 vs. 40); 111 fewer persons shot (73 vs. 184); and 90 fewer shooting incidents with injury (63 vs. 153) during the first half of 2023 as compared to the first half of 2021, when pandemic-era gun violence peaked. These three key gun violence metrics in the city have been trending below the five-year average (2018-22) since January 2023. Total homicides were down 62% in Buffalo from January-June 2023 when compared to the same period last year.

“The governor also highlighted double-digit decreases in gun violence for the first half of 2023, as reported by the 20 police departments currently participating in GIVE, and declines in shootings reported by the New York City Police Department this month.

“Shooting incidents with injury in GIVE communities declined 28% (377 vs. 521), and the number of individuals shot decreased 26% (456 vs. 614) during the first half of 2023 as compared to the same timeframe in 2022. Both of these gun violence indicators have been trending below the five-year average (2018-22) since January 2023. In addition, 48 fewer individuals (64 vs. 112, 43%) were killed by gun violence when comparing January through June 2023 with the same six-month period in 2022, and that indicator has been trending below the five-year average since March 2023. Gun violence also declined in New York City, though not as sharply as it did in Buffalo: a 28% decline in shooting victims and 27% decrease in shooting incidents through July 23, 2023.”

Hochul also announced that 16 community-based organizations in Buffalo have received $2 million in state funding through Project RISE, a new program to strengthen communities dealing with the long-term effects of gun violence. Administered by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, the funding is being shared equally among Erie County Restorative Justice Coalition, Metro Community Development Corp. – Delavan Grider Community Center, Open Buffalo, and VOICE Buffalo.

Those four organizations must use at least 25% of funding to support grassroots organizations. A total of 16 organizations are receiving funding through that requirement: Be Elite Inc., Bury the Violence, Candles in the SUN, Confident Girls Mentoring Program, Feed Buffalo, The Foundry, FruitBelt United, Full Circle, Galactic Tribe, Johnny B. Wiley, Massachusetts Avenue Project, P.E.A.C.E. Inc., Project Mona’s House, RAWTools Buffalo, REALTalk, and Unit Promise.

Division of Criminal Justice Services Commissioner Rossana Rosado said, “Gun violence impacts more than just the individuals on either side of the gun. Families, friends and communities also live with the trauma caused by long-term exposure to violence. At DCJS, we are focused on preventing gun violence before it happens, and providing funding and technical assistance to law enforcement and community organizations to address violence when and where it occurs. With unwavering support from Gov. Hochul, our local partners are effecting change and saving lives.”

New York State Police Acting Superintendent Steven A. Nigrelli said, “We commend Gov. Hochul for her continued support. Like our law enforcement partners here in Buffalo, we share their urgency in developing solutions to reduce gun violence and disrupt the flow of illegal guns into our communities. We stand with our local, state and federal partners as we continue to fight this battle along with them.”

The Division of Criminal Justice Services has awarded a total of $14 million through Project RISE. Six other cities – Albany, Mt. Vernon, Newburgh, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers – also received $2 million each to support community-based organizations offering mentoring, mental health services, restorative practices, community trust building, employment and education support, and youth development activities, among other programs and services. Project RISE grant recipients in Rochester have been announced, and grantees in the other cities are slated to be announced soon.

Mayor Byron Brown said, "The City of Buffalo has seen significant decreases in violent crime over the last two years. I thank Gov. Hochul for her continued support that allows our officers to do their jobs more effectively, and our relationships with community partners to be strengthened. The City of Buffalo will continue this hard work and collaboration in the pursuit of great public safety."

Buffalo Police Department Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said, "With GIVE X funding from New York State, the Buffalo Police Department has been able to fund micro-hot-spot-directed patrols, custom notifications, crime prevention through environmental design projects, community engagement, and so much more. These programs that make our streets safer are made possible by Gov. Hochul's support. I am proud to say that violent crime continues to decline in the City of Buffalo because of initiatives like GIVE."

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said, “We are committed to keeping our neighborhoods safe and preventing violence by removing illegal guns from the streets and holding offenders accountable. Thank you to Gov. Kathy Hochul for these significant investments into resources for my office, law enforcement agencies and our anti-violence community partners, which was crucial in reducing the number of gun violence-related incidents in the City of Buffalo. I also want to thank the Buffalo Police Department for their partnership and commitment to keeping our city safe.

President and CEO of Erie County Medical Center Thomas J. Quatroche Jr., Ph.D., said, “We applaud Gov. Hochul’s commitment to supporting local law enforcement and community organizations dedicated to reducing gun violence. By supporting and investing in the anti-violence programs based at ECMC, Buffalo Rising Against Violence (BRAVE) and SNUG, the governor has committed to providing the key resources in reducing gun violence and saving lives. As Western New York’s only level 1 adult trauma center, ECMC caregivers know too well the devastating effects of gun violence; and that’s why we stand with governor in this important initiative.”

Back to Basics President and CEO and WNY Peacemakers Coordinator Pastor James Giles said, “The City of Buffalo is a model for other cities around the country for what we call ‘Collective Impact.’ The decrease in violent crimes demonstrates what happens when local law enforcement, The district attorney's office, probation and community-based organizations work in a collective way to engage the community to embrace violence reduction efforts. GIVE allows and reinforces that principle.”

Hochul secured $337 million – an increase of $110 million – in the budget to support her plan to target gun violence and violent crime, improve public safety, and strengthen communities. That plan includes, but is not limited to, the following funding, which also is administered by the Division of Criminal Justice Services:

√ $36 million for GIVE. This funding has allowed the state to expand the initiative to eight new police departments and four additional counties. As of July 1, GIVE funding now supports 28 police departments, and district attorneys' offices, probation departments, and sheriffs' offices in 21 counties outside of New York City hardest hit by gun violence and violent crime.

√ $25 million for the state’s SNUG street outreach program, which operates in 14 communities and uses a public health approach to address gun violence: Identify the source, interrupt its transmission, and treat those affected by ongoing exposure to violence.

√ $16 million to support and expand the state's Crime Analysis Center Network. A new center is being established in New York City, bringing to 11 the number of centers in the network, which is supported by the state in partnership with local law enforcement agencies. The centers in Erie, Monroe, Onondaga and Albany counties were the first to be established; others are located in Broome, Franklin, Niagara, Oneida, Orange and Suffolk counties. In 2022, staff at the centers responded to more than 66,000 requests for assistance from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, helping agencies solve murders, robberies, burglaries, gun crimes, and other serious cases.

The Division of Criminal Justice Services provides support to all facets of the state's criminal justice system, including, but not limited to: training law enforcement and other criminal justice professionals; overseeing a law enforcement accreditation program; ensuring Breathalyzer and speed enforcement equipment used by local law enforcement operate correctly; managing criminal justice grant funding; analyzing statewide crime and program data; providing research support; overseeing county probation departments and alternatives to incarceration programs; and coordinating youth justice policy. Follow DCJS on Facebook and Twitter.

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