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 Rochester, Monroe County get boost
New York State awards more than $2 million in Operation IMPACT funding

ROCHESTER – Law enforcement officials and community leaders today joined Denise E. O’Donnell, commissioner of the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), at the Boys and Girls Club of Rochester to announce more than $2 million in grants to benefit strategic crime-fighting initiatives in Rochester and Monroe County.

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.

“Law enforcement officials in Rochester and Monroe County have embraced the cornerstones of Operation IMPACT and made them standard operating procedure, particularly recognizing the importance of intelligence-driven policing and timely use of accurate crime data,” Commissioner O’Donnell said.
 
The $2,025,723 in Operation IMPACT funding will be shared among the following agencies: the Rochester Police Department; the District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Office and Probation Department in Monroe County; and Pathways to Peace. The Boys and Girls Club also receives funding through the District Attorney’s Office.

 “If we are to revitalize our cities and enhance economic development, they must be safe for families and businesses,” Commissioner O’Donnell said. “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.”
 Through mid-June 2008, the city of Rochester had seen a 38.5 percent decrease in murders as compared to the same timeframe in 2006 (16 vs. 26). In addition, during the same timeframe the city has seen a 7 percent reduction in the number of shooting victims: 79 as compared to 85.

Also, firearm-related violent crimes were down 6.5 percent and firearm-related aggravated assaults were down 15.5 percent through the first five months of 2008, as compared to the same timeframe last year.

“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. “Law enforcement officials in Monroe County also have engaged the community in the fight against violent crime. There is an acute understanding that police presence, arrests and successful prosecutions alone won’t make the community safe: we also must embrace effective strategies and programs that provide young men and women with alternatives to gangs and crime.”

DCJS also has provided funding for the “You Bet I Told” campaign. Supported by the leadership of the Baber A.M.E. Church in partnership with other clergy, law enforcement and local businesses, the campaign encourages those who witness crimes to break the silence of the street and cooperate with law enforcement.

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, the following state and federal agencies participate in the IMPACT initiative: 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 State Liquor Authority; the FBI; U.S. Attorney’s Offices; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

The state’s other IMPACT jurisdictions are Albany, Broome, Chautauqua, Dutchess, Erie, Nassau, Niagara, 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.