Contact: John Caher, Press Office
(518) 457-8415
john.caher@dcjs.ny.gov
www.criminaljustice.ny.gov

For Immediate Release: Friday, Aug. 3, 2007

CRIME-FIGHTING INITIATIVE EXPANDED
Erie County receives 28.4 percent increase in Operation IMPACT funding

ALBANY – Commissioner Denise E. O’Donnell of the state Division of Criminal Justice Services joined local law enforcement leaders today in Buffalo to announce a comprehensive, aggressive crime-fighting strategy in Western New York, bolstered by a 28.4 percent increase in Operation IMPACT funding.

Commissioner O’Donnell recently awarded more than $1.9 million to Erie County IMPACT partners, which represents a 28.4 percent increase over the prior year. The funds will be shared by the Buffalo Police Department, Erie County Probation Department, Erie County Sheriff’s Office, Erie County District Attorney’s Office and the Erie County Central Police Services. The funds will be used specifically to reduce gun violence, increase crime analysis capabilities and to aid local law enforcement agencies and the District Attorney’s office.

Most recent statistics from the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) shows that violent crime is down dramatically in both the City of Buffalo and Erie County. Comparing the first five months of 2007 against the first five months of 2006, violent crime is down about 24 percent, with noteworthy decreases in murders and rapes. However, property crime is up in both the city and the county.

“Our award of IMPACT funds reflects both local public safety needs, and our confidence in law enforcement authorities in the Buffalo area,” Commissioner O’Donnell said. “We at DCJS are here to work with our partners as we pursue our goal of making Western New York, and indeed all of New York State, safer for our families and businesses."

Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown said the IMPACT grant will bolster the city’s efforts to continue reducing crime.

“While violent crime continues to decrease in the City of Buffalo, these Operation IMPACT funds will support additional police efforts to further reduce violent crime, particularly gun-related violence,” Mayor Brown said. “I want to thank the members of our Western New York state legislative delegation, Commissioner O’Donnell, and Governor Spitzer for their continued support in Buffalo's crime fighting efforts.”

Erie County District Attorney Frank Clark added: “At a time of diminishing local financial support, Operation IMPACT provides not only an effective strategy to fight violent crime in our area, but the resources to put that plan into action.”

Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard noted that his agency has been a part of IMPACT since its inception.

“We have worked closely with the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, Central Police Services, the Erie County Probation Department and the Buffalo Police Department,” Sheriff Howard said. “This funding provided by Commissioner O’Donnell’s office will allow us to improve and streamline some of our booking processes and provide intelligence funding for the Sheriff’s Office. This multi-agency cooperative effort is a benefit to the entire Western New York community.”

Operation IMPACT (Integrated Municipal Police Anti-Crime Teams) is New York State’s comprehensive, crime-fighting program designed to achieve sustained, long term crime reduction across the state.

The program, which began in 2004, targets 17 counties outside of New York City: Albany, Broome, Chautauqua, Dutchess, Erie, Monroe, Nassau, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Orange, Rensselaer, Rockland, Schenectady, Suffolk, Ulster and Westchester. Since its inception, much progress has been made in developing and implementing collaborative crime reduction strategies targeting specific violent crimes.

During the last decade, index crime (murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft) declined 42 percent in New York City while the counties outside of New York City experienced a decline of 23 percent. Additionally, crimes involving a firearm reached a 10-year high in counties outside New York City last year, according to DCJS.

The governor, in his executive budget, increased IMPACT funding from $14.9 million to $17 million. The funds are designed to help build active local partnerships, incorporating the use of timely and accurate crime data and analysis, and enhance the use of intelligence in the development of crime-reduction strategies.

“While crime is down in nearly every large jurisdiction, we must and we will do more to further reduce violent and property crime,” Governor Eliot Spitzer said. “These additional resources will enable our law enforcement partners upstate and on Long Island to continue developing and implementing collaborative crime-reduction strategies in crime ‘hot spots’ throughout New York State.”

The most recent statistics from DCJS show that for the first five months of this year (January through May):

  • Reported crime in the 17 IMPACT jurisdictions is down 5 percent.
  • Violent crime is down 13 percent.
  • Robberies are down 18.6 percent and assaults are down 10 percent. 
  • Property crime is down 4 percent, with decreases in burglary (-6 percent), larceny (-2 percent) and motor vehicle theft (-13 percent).
  • Violent crimes involving a firearm are down 22 percent.
  • Firearm related robberies are down 30 percent and firearm related assaults are down 11 percent.

So far this year, violent crime is down in nearly every large jurisdiction in the state, including Buffalo (-24 percent), Rochester (-10 percent), Syracuse (-15 percent), Schenectady (-18 percent), Albany (-6 percent), Nassau (-11 percent) and Suffolk (-9 percent). However, while the 17 IMPACT sites reported a 20 percent decrease in shooting incidences for the first five months of this year (258 this year compared to 321 last year), those incidents resulted in 58 deaths, an increase from the 43 reported during the same period of 2006.

IMPACT grants are awarded competitively, with priority given to those jurisdictions with the highest volume of crime. Commissioner O’Donnell said DCJS received requests for more than $40 million in IMPACT funding during this cycle.

“The process for determining award amounts was extremely difficult,” Commissioner O’Donnell said. “However, I am confident that the final award amounts are fair and will provide each partnership with the resources and ability to do great work in the coming year.”

IMPACT funding has supported local initiatives in a variety of ways through positions, equipment, and enhancements to technology.  In the past, the funds have been used to provide IMPACT sites with field intelligence officers and crime analysts, license plate readers, mobile and stationary camera systems, surveillance equipment, crime mapping software and digital fingerprinting equipment.

IMPACT monies for the contract year July 1, 2007, through June 30, 2008, will be used for a wide-variety of purposes – from funding prosecutor, police and crime analyst positions to purchasing equipment such as mobile surveillance cameras – but in each instance the expenditure must bear a direct relationship to the overarching goal of reducing violent crime.

DCJS continually monitors the effectiveness of the program through monthly crime trend meetings with the IMPACT partners. These meetings provide each IMPACT site with an opportunity to present an ongoing overview of their strategy and how it relates to the crime problem in their jurisdiction as determined by their analysis.  The crime trends meetings also provides a forum for the local IMPACT partners to discuss obstacles that they are encountering and to identify any additional needs that they have that will assist them in reducing crime, Commissioner O’Donnell said.

List of IMPACT Counties and Funding Awards

County

2007 Funding

Albany

$1,282,388

Broome

$490,185

Chautauqua

$293,751

Dutchess

$523,407

Erie

$1,980,333

Monroe

$2,029,861

Nassau

$1,539,628

Niagara

$638,711

Oneida

$352,323

Onondaga

$1,183,189

Orange

$815,452

Rensselaer

$583,370

Rockland

$461,152

Schenectady

$865,854

Suffolk

$1,612,951

Ulster

$388,197

Westchester

$1,959,248

 

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