Division of Criminal Justice Services

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For immediate release: Thursday, July 10, 2008

State invests in Albany crime-fighting efforts

New York State awards more than $1.1 million in Operation IMPACT funding
to Albany County crime-fighting partners


ALBANY – 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 Arbor Hill Community Center to announce more than $1.1 million in grants to benefit strategic crime-fighting initiatives in Albany.

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 brings together 80 different law enforcement agencies in the state and targets the 17 counties Upstate and on Long Island that report 80 percent of crime out of New York City.

The grant was announced at the Arbor Hill Community Center, just a few blocks from where 10-year-old Kathina Thomas was struck by a stray bullet and killed in May.

“Crime – especially violent and gun crime – devastates individuals, families and communities, and we at DCJS are committed to working with our partners in Albany County to spare families and neighborhoods the horror and grief suffered by those who loved, knew or lived near Kathina Thomas,” Commissioner O’Donnell said. “Crime fighting is most effective when all the stakeholders, including community organizations, work together. That is the goal and mission of Operation IMPACT.”

The following agencies in Albany County will share the $1,153,274 IMPACT award: Albany Police Department ($790,389); Albany County District Attorney ($201,225); Albany County Sheriff’s Office ($87,819); and the Albany County Probation Department ($76,841). Other Albany IMPACT partners include the New York State Police, New York State Division of Parole, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York, the FBI, the John Finn Institute for Public Safety and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

IMPACT grants fund personnel, including crime analysts, assistant district attorneys, field intelligence officers, probation officers and investigators. The grants also support technology, such as mobile surveillance cameras, crime mapping software, digital fingerprinting equipment and laptop computers.

Crime in Albany dropped last year by more than 11 percent, with decreases in murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and larceny. However, firearm-related crimes increased by about 6 percent a pattern that has continued this year. Latest reports from DCJS show that firearm-related crime in Albany this year is trending about 11 percent ahead of last year.

This year, the Albany IMPACT program targets gun crimes, robberies and residential burglaries through a comprehensive strategy that includes strategic deployment of police officers, saturation patrols based on real time crime data, a “citizen observer” plan to keep residents notified of crime conditions and to encourage tips from the community, new efforts to combat youth violence and domestic violence and enhanced prosecution. The grant includes funding for two assistant district attorneys.

“Law enforcement officials in Albany County have embraced the cornerstones of Operation IMPACT – collaboration, intelligence-based policing, deployment of technology and timely use of accurate crime data and technology – and have made them standard operating procedure,” Commissioner O’Donnell said.

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.