Contact: Janine Kava, Press Office
New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services
(518) 457-8906 or (518) 275-5508 – cell
janine.kava@dcjs.ny.gov

For immediate release: Wednesday, October 20, 2010

State invests in crime-fighting initiatives in Gloversville and Fulton County

New grants to police department, sheriff’s office to target domestic violence, burglaries

Saratoga Springs P.D. and sheriff’s offices in Columbia and Warren counties also receive grants

JOHNSTOWN – Acting Commissioner Sean M. Byrne of the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) today joined with law enforcement officials from Gloversville and Fulton County to announce two grants that will enhance the response to domestic violence incidents and improve burglary investigations in those communities.

The Gloversville Police Department has been awarded a $25,000 grant to initiate a program that sends officers on follow-up visits to homes where they have responded to domestic violence calls, while the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office has been awarded a $10,000 grant to collect DNA evidence at the scene of all reported burglaries.

“Domestic violence and burglary are both serial crimes that can be effectively targeted by the proactive, proven strategies that will be funded through these grants,” Acting Commissioner Byrne said. “These initiatives are designed to not only solve crimes, but to prevent future victimization. Despite the state’s ongoing fiscal crisis, Governor Paterson’s administration remains committed to assisting local law enforcement agencies with their efforts to enhance the safety of their communities.”

Fulton County District Attorney Louise K. Sira, Sheriff Thomas J. Lorey and Gloversville Police Chief Edgar Beaudin joined Acting Commissioner Byrne for the announcement at the District Attorney’s office in the Fulton County Office Building.

Through the follow-up visit program, Gloversville police officers will return to homes where they have responded to domestic incident calls, with the ultimate goals of holding offenders accountable, improving investigation and prosecution of cases as appropriate, enhancing victim safety and connecting victims with resources and services. The program is modeled after one successfully implemented by the New York City Police Department.

“With domestic violence, unlike almost every other crime, we know who the victim is going to be, who the perpetrator will be, and more likely where the crime will occur. What we don’t know is when,” Acting Commissioner Byrne said. “This grant will allow the Gloversville police to proactively check to make sure victims are safe, that perpetrators are keeping their distance if an order of protection is in place and behaving appropriately if there are no orders. We want to hold offenders accountable for their behavior.”

The additional resources provided to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office will allow either responding officers or evidence technicians to collect DNA evidence at the scene of every reported burglary; DNA often provides a critical link to solving those crimes, preventing additional break-ins and linking the responsible individual to other crimes.

Since the inception of the state’s DNA databank in 1996 through Sept. 30, 2010, at least 1,094 individuals statewide have been convicted of burglary as a result of DNA found at the crime scene. Solving burglaries also solves other crimes: DNA given for convictions to a first-, second-, or third-degree burglary charge has resulted in links to 345 sexual assaults and 65 homicides.

District Attorney Sira said: “I am very appreciative that the state has made this investment in Fulton County. These additional resources will allow the Gloversville Police and Fulton County Sheriff’s Office to enhance the way they investigate domestic violence and burglary cases, which in turn will result in stronger cases for my office to prosecute. By working together, we will ensure that those individuals who break the law are held accountable for their crimes.”

Sheriff Lorey said: “Burglary is certainly a crime of opportunity in our rural area. Our solvability factors have just increased due to this great funding opportunity afforded to us by DCJS. Having a statewide statistic of a high burglary rate is something I am not proud of; the members of my agency strive to close out all burglaries by arrest, so by having funding available to collect DNA enhances our ability to solve these crimes that result in our citizens being victimized and feeling violated when someone steals from their homes and businesses.”

Chief Beaudin said: “This funding will allow us to make return, follow-up home visits to residences that have been the scene of a domestic incident. During these visits, officers will have an opportunity to follow up their investigation by re-interviewing the reported victim and to facilitate follow-up services for the victim. The City of Gloversville has a very high rate of family offenses; we’re confident that this grant award will help us to significantly reduce the volume of repeat offenses at the same addresses.”

Three other law enforcement agencies in the greater Capital Region also received grants: the Saratoga Springs Police Department received the grant to target domestic violence incidents, and sheriff’s offices in Columbia and Warren counties each received the burglary investigation grants. DCJS targeted the one-time grants to Upstate jurisdictions, particularly smaller cities and suburban towns, as well as suburban and rural counties. The grants are funded by the agency through the federal Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program.

“New York State has made enormous progress in the fight against crime over the last 20 years, due in part to the smart investment of state resources at the local level, particularly in the state’s urban centers,” Acting Commissioner Byrne added. “These grants allow us to expand those partnerships to smaller jurisdictions that are wrestling with spikes in crime, with the hope that the additional assistance will allow them to successfully address crime patterns before they become crime trends.”

In addition to the number of domestic violence incidents, a variety of criteria was used to determine which departments would receive grants to conduct follow-up visits. DCJS selected those agencies with an existing infrastructure in place, such as a dedicated officer and/or a specialized team, to adequately follow up on domestic violence incidents and those that had established relationships with the domestic violence services provider in their community.

In Gloversville, 81 percent of the simple and aggravated assaults reported as domestic in 2009 involved intimate partners, with women reported as the victim in 94 percent of those cases. In Saratoga Springs, 74 percent of those cases involved intimate partners, with women reported as the victim in 58 percent of the assaults. Intimate partner is defined as a spouse, ex-spouse, sexual partner or ex-partner, including same-sex partners. 2009 Domestic Violence Victim Data

Saratoga Springs Police Chief Christopher J. Cole said: "Victims of domestic violence often face serious emotional, physical, and financial issues well after officers leave their residence.  This funding will play a critical role in allowing our department to focus on those issues and provide the necessary services to the victims that will allow them to move forward with their lives."

Burglary investigation grants were awarded to agencies that experienced a 15 percent or more increase in the number of reported break-ins from 2008 to 2009; the agencies receiving the grants had a minimum of 100 reported burglaries last year.

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office reported a 53 percent increase in burglaries (87 vs. 133) from 2008 to 2009. During the same timeframe, reported burglaries increased 27 percent (83 vs. 105) in Columbia County and 32 percent (90 vs. 119) in Warren County. Index crimes by reporting agency

Warren County Sheriff Nathan H. “Bud” York said: “We believe the grant funding awarded to us to enhance investigations of burglaries through the collection of DNA will most certainly assist our officers in solving more of these crimes. I am very appreciative of the assistance from DCJS in helping us receive this grant.”

Added Columbia County Sheriff David W. Harrison Jr.: “I would like to thank the Division of Criminal Justice Services for the DNA kits and training provided to Deputy Sheriff's in Columbia County as part of this grant.  This will be an important tool in our front line efforts for the many burglary investigations we do each year." 

The state Division of Criminal Justice Services (www.criminaljustice.ny.gov) 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