Contact: Janine Kava, Press Office
(518) 457-8906 or cell: (518) 275-5508
janine.kava@dcjs.ny.gov

For immediate release: Monday, July 7, 2008

Crime-fighting efforts in Western New York get boost
New York State awards more than $2.8 million in Operation IMPACT funding
to Erie, Niagara and Chautauqua counties

BUFFALO – Law enforcement and elected officials today joined Denise E. O’Donnell, commissioner of the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), and community leaders at Buffalo City Hall to announce more than $2.8 million in grants to benefit strategic crime-fighting initiatives in Erie, Niagara and Chautauqua counties.

DCJS awarded the grants through Operation IMPACT, the state’s program to tackle violent and gun crime through intelligence-based policing, partnerships among law enforcement and community organizations and timely use of accurate crime data.

Operation IMPACT targets the 17 counties Upstate and on Long Island that report 80 percent of crime out of New York City. The awards are as follows:

  • Erie County: $1,911,341 to be shared by the Buffalo Police Department, Erie County District Attorney’s Office, Erie County Sheriff’s Office, Erie County Probation, and Erie County Central Police Services.
  • Niagara County: $660,382 to be shared by the Niagara Falls Police Department, Niagara County District Attorney’s Office, Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, and Niagara County Probation.
  • Chautauqua County: $266,046 to be shared by the Jamestown Police Department, Chautauqua County District Attorney’s Office, Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office, and Chautauqua County Probation.

“Law enforcement officials throughout Western New York have embraced the cornerstones of Operation IMPACT – collaboration, intelligence-based policing, including institution of CompStat in Buffalo and Niagara Falls, deployment of technology and timely use of accurate crime data and technology – and have made them standard operating procedure,” Commissioner O’Donnell said.

“As a result, Erie, Niagara and Chautauqua counties each saw a reduction in violent crime last year,” she added. “Our award of IMPACT funds provides our local law enforcement partners with resources that they would not otherwise have, resources that allow them to identify trends and attack crime as it emerges, and we are seeing positive results.”

Buffalo:

  • Murders are down for the first five months of the year: 13 compared to 17 in 2007, a 23.5 percent decrease.
  • A joint deployment of the Buffalo Police Department’s Mobile Response Unit and the New York State Police in the “E” District in the city of Buffalo throughout the month of June resulted in a 42 percent reduction in robberies, compared to those reported the month prior. June 2008 saw a 32 percent decrease in robberies as compared to June 2007.
  • The “Operation Rolling Thunder” felony warrant sweep – conducted from June 23 through June 27 – resulted in 140 arrests, clearing 187 warrants for a variety of crimes, including burglaries, robberies and drug charges. In addition, 20 sex offenders were arrested for failing to register or verify their addresses.

Niagara Falls:

  • Violent crime is down slightly (1 percent) for the first five months of the year.
  • Firearm-related violent crimes were down 13 percent, with 27 reported in May 2008 as compared to 31 in May 2007, and firearm-related aggravated assaults were down 20 percent, with 16 reported in May 2008 as compared to 20 in May 2007.
  • The Niagara County Sheriff’s Office developed a successful highway interdiction program targeting 18 offenders who were traveling between Niagara Falls and Lockport and committing a large percentage of the index crimes in both cities. The number one offender on the list recently pled guilty to drug possession charges and was sentenced to 2 ½ years in state prison.

Jamestown:

  • This spring, the police department, working collaboratively with local, state and federal IMPACT partners, conducted “Operation Q-Dog,” which resulted in 12 arrests on state and federal narcotics charges and the seizure of $30,000 in cash and 22 ounces of cocaine with a street value of $63,000.
  • Reports of robberies in the city have been down for three consecutive years (2005 through 2007) but there has been a slight spike in the first five months of this year: 17 compared to 12.

 “We need to build on these successes and must never become complacent. As anyone in law enforcement will tell you, vigilance and consistent focus, pressure and smart strategies are necessary to achieving long-term results in crime reduction,” Commissioner O’Donnell said. “We are committed to providing local law enforcement with the resources they need to stay one step ahead of those individuals who break the law.”

Operation IMPACT grants fund personnel, including crime analysts, assistant district attorneys, field intelligence officers, probation officers and investigators, and technology, including laptops, mobile surveillance cameras, crime mapping software and digital fingerprinting equipment.

In addition to DCJS, several other local, state and federal agencies participate in Western New York’s IMPACT initiative: police departments in Lockport, Lewiston, Lakewood-Busti and Ellicott;  the Buffalo Police Chaplain’s Corps; the Jamestown Department of Development; the Division of Parole; the Division of Probation and Correctional Alternatives; the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence; the New York State Police; the New York State Parks Police, the State Liquor Authority;  the federal Drug Enforcement Agency; the FBI; the U.S. Attorney’s Office; U.S. Marshals; the Border Patrol; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

The state’s other IMPACT jurisdictions are Albany, Broome, Dutchess, Monroe, Nassau, Oneida, Onondaga, Orange, Rensselaer, Rockland, Schenectady, Suffolk, Ulster and Westchester counties.

IMPACT grants are awarded competitively, with priority given to those jurisdictions with the highest volume of crime. In addition to providing IMPACT partners with grant funds, DCJS also has a technical assistance team that provides on-site training, guidance and assistance in developing effective crime-reduction strategies that address each jurisdiction’s unique needs and trends.

DCJS continually monitors the effectiveness of the program through monthly crime trend meetings with its 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.

The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services is a multi-function criminal justice support agency with a variety of responsibilities, including collection and analysis of statewide crime data; operation of the DNA databank and criminal fingerprint files; administration of federal and state criminal justice funds; support of criminal justice-related agencies across the state; and administration of the state’s Sex Offender Registry and a toll-free telephone number (1-800-262-3257) that allows anyone to research the status of an offender.