Governor convened state officials, local elected leaders, law enforcement and community stakeholders for virtual public safety briefing
Gov. Kathy Hochul this week convened state officials, local elected leaders, law enforcement and community stakeholders from Syracuse and Buffalo for a virtual public safety briefing to discuss progress on coordinated public safety efforts. Hochul highlighted the administration’s funding and policies implemented to combat gun violence, violent crime and car thefts in Syracuse and Buffalo.
“Keeping New Yorkers safe has been my top priority, and with a few simple principles we are ensuring our local communities can do just that,” Hochul said. “With legislation, increased funding for effective programs and initiatives, and solid partnerships between local and state agencies, we are strengthening our commitment to public safety. These meetings allow us an opportunity to get on the same page and tackle the real issues together for the sake of our state.”
This briefing follows Hochul's announcement last month unveiling the five-point comprehensive auto-theft reduction strategy to provide support to local law enforcement to reduce car thefts across New York. CARS includes $50 million for police departments and sheriffs’ offices outside of New York City to purchase new technology and equipment to modernize their operations and more effectively solve and prevent these and other crimes.
Police departments and sheriffs’ offices have until Wednesday, Nov. 8, to apply for these funds, which can be used to purchase a variety of equipment and technology, including but not limited to license plate readers, mobile and fixed surveillance cameras, computer-aided dispatch systems, software, unmanned aerial vehicles, gunshot detection devices, and smart equipment for patrol vehicles and police officers.
A press release noted, “The FY24 budget includes the largest-ever investment in public safety and criminal justice funding to support Gov. Hochul's comprehensive, multifaceted approach to address gun violence, the surge in vehicle thefts, and further improve public safety in communities across New York. Gov. Hochul’s administration has more than quadrupled funding to both Buffalo and Syracuse in the past two years to address pandemic-era increases in gun violence and other crimes.”
Division of Criminal Justice Services Commissioner Rossana Rosado said, “Maintaining open lines of communications with local leaders is key to ensuring communities have the resources they need to keep New Yorkers safe. I am proud to be a part of these important conversations, and I thank Gov. Hochul for her dedication to these relationships and resources. We all want the same thing: strong neighborhoods and a safe, peaceful New York.”
Participants from Buffalo and Erie County included Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Erie County Executive Chief of Staff Ben Swanekamp, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn, representatives from the Erie County Sheriff's Office and Probation Department, Erie Crime Analysis Center Director Dennis Richards, and representatives from New York State Police and DCJS, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
Hochul's administration is providing $25.2 million to Buffalo and Erie County this year, compared to $5.9 million two years ago. In July, Hochul announced progress in the fight against gun violence in Buffalo. Data reported by the city's Police Department for the first half of 2023 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 when compared to the same time frame in 2021.
That progress has continued to date in Buffalo. Shooting incidents involving injury in the city declined 27% (113 vs. 155) through Oct. 1, 2023, when compared to the same time frame last year, and 53% compared to same period of 2021 (113 v. 241). In Buffalo, the number of individuals killed by firearms declined 55% (19 vs. 42) during the first eight months this year as compared to 2022. The total number of murders in the city decreased by 45% (28 vs. 51) during the first eight months of the year in 2023 vs. 2022, and violent crime (murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault) declined 12%.
Poloncarz said, “Gov. Hochul continues to lead our community in our shared, No. 1 priority: ensuring the safety and security of our residents. I thank her for taking the time to meet with members of my team to discuss the challenges we face on the ground in combating violent crime and the scourge of auto thefts that affects our working-class citizens. Gov. Hochul is helping to ensure that our law enforcement officers and prosecutors have the tools they need to combat criminals in an increasingly challenging environment.”
Brown said, "I thank Gov. Kathy Hochul for continuing to take proactive steps toward reducing auto thefts in the state of New York. This morning, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joe Gramaglia and I spoke on a virtual call with the governor, other partners in government and law enforcement to discuss strategies to dramatically reduce auto thefts in communities across the state."
Flynn said, “We are committed to keeping our neighborhoods safe, removing illegal guns from the streets and holding the offenders accountable. I want to thank Gov. Kathy Hochul for investing state funds to support our coordinated efforts to reduce gun-related incidents in the City of Buffalo. With these additional resources, I am pleased to announce a decline in the number of people who have been killed or injured due to gun violence in our community. I hope to see the number of gun-involved incidents continue to decline with the support of the GIVE initiative.”