For immediate release: Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2008
NOTE: MEDIA AVAILABILITY: DCJS Commissioner Denise O’Donnell is available for telephone interviews today; to schedule an interview, contact either John Caher at (518) 225-5240 or Janine Kava at (518) 275-5508.
Crime-fighting initiative shows results
Violent, property crimes decline in Operation IMPACT jurisdictions
Crime in the 17 jurisdictions in New York State that participate in Operation IMPACT is down 5.4 percent for the first 11 months of 2007, led by double-digit decreases in murder, robberies and motor vehicle thefts, according to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS).
Operation IMPACT targets the 17 counties in Upstate and on Long Island that report more than 80 percent of the crime outside of New York City: Albany, Broome, Chautauqua, Dutchess, Erie, Monroe, Nassau, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Orange, Rensselaer, Rockland, Schenectady, Suffolk, Ulster and Westchester.
Through November 2007, DCJS reported decreases in six significant crime areas, known as index crimes, in IMPACT jurisdictions: murder, down 11.7 percent; robberies, down 14.4 percent; aggravated assault, down 6.7 percent; burglary, down 5.5 percent; larceny, down 3.6 percent; and motor vehicle theft, down 10 percent. Reported rapes increased slightly, by 4.4 percent.
Overall, violent crime in the IMPACT jurisdictions is down 9.5 percent for the first 11 months of last year, as compared to the same timeframe in 2006. Property crime also is down 4.7 percent.
“Through the use of intelligence-based policing, partnerships among law enforcement agencies and the timely use of accurate crime data, our IMPACT partners have done a tremendous job in tackling violent and gun crime in their communities,” said DCJS Commissioner Denise E. O’Donnell, who also serves as assistant secretary for criminal justice.
“Communities across New York State are safer today than they were one year ago,” O’Donnell added. “We are reclaiming street corners, empowering neighborhoods and revitalizing cities from Niagara Falls to Long Island, and everywhere in between. Through Operation IMPACT, we are making a real difference, a difference that is crucial to this state’s efforts to reinvigorate our economy, especially in Upstate.”
The crime statistics for the first 11 months of 2007 were released at DCJS’ annual Operation IMPACT conference, which is being held today and tomorrow at the Holiday Inn in Saratoga Springs. The two-day conference is designed to give law enforcement officials the opportunity to share ideas and showcase strategies that have been effective in combating crime across the state. More than 300 law enforcement officials from the 17 IMPACT jurisdictions are expected to attend the conference.
Through November 2007, violent crime is down in nearly every IMPACT jurisdiction, including Albany (-7.2 percent); Buffalo (-13.1 percent); Jamestown (nearly -1 percent); Kingston (-20.5 percent); Nassau County (-8 percent); Niagara Falls (-19 percent); Poughkeepsie (-7.9 percent); Rochester (-12 percent); Schenectady (-14.8 percent); Suffolk County (-10.5 percent); Syracuse (-5.3 percent); Troy (-3.6 percent); and Yonkers (-11.4 percent).
There also has been a decrease in the number of firearm-related violent crimes (murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault). In the 17 IMPACT jurisdictions from January through November 2007, there were 3,610 firearm-related violent crimes, as compared to 4,390 from January through November 2006, a decrease of 17.8 percent. Firearm-related murders decreased by 9.5 percent.
However, not every community has fully shared in that progress. For instance, while Binghamton achieved an impressive 15 percent decline in firearm-related crimes, its violent crime rate increased about 5 percent, due largely to an increase in robberies. The city’s overall crime rate was down 7.6 percent, driven by a decrease in property crimes.
Additionally, Newburgh experienced an 11 percent increase in crime, including a substantial boost in assaults, especially those involving a firearm. Spring Valley also is struggling with firearm-related crime. In Spring Valley, rapes are down, robberies are down, assaults are down, murders are about the same – and firearm-related robberies are up more than 300 percent.
And in Utica, violent crime, with the exception of murder, is nearly flat, but there has been a 4.4 percent increase in property crime.
New York State invested $17 million in Operation IMPACT in 2007-08, a 14 percent increase in funding over the prior year. IMPACT grants fund technology, including laptops, mobile surveillance cameras, crime mapping software and digital fingerprinting equipment, and personnel, including crime analysts, assistant district attorneys, field intelligence officers, probation officers and investigators.
In addition to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), a variety of state 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; and the State Liquor Authority.
Federal agencies, including the FBI; U.S. Attorney’s Offices; the Border Patrol; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms also participate.
DCJS made the following IMPACT awards for 2007-08:
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.