Every day, New York State agencies partner with local law enforcement – police departments, sheriffs’ offices, district attorneys’ offices and probation departments – to provide additional resources that allow those agencies to better serve and protect their communities. Key to those efforts are a variety of programs designed to specifically target violent and gun crime in the state’s urban centers, many of which involve partnerships with community-based programs, ranging from Boys and Girls Clubs and YWCAs to hospitals and churches and other religious organizations.
Since 2004, the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) has funded this initiative to target violent and gun crime and domestic violence. Operation IMPACT targets jurisdictions in 17 counties Upstate and on Long Island that report 80 percent of the crime in New York State outside of New York City. The participating counties are Albany, Broome (Binghamton), Chautauqua (Jamestown), Dutchess (Poughkeepsie), Erie (Buffalo), Monroe (Rochester), Nassau, Niagara (Niagara Falls), Oneida (Utica), Onondaga (Syracuse), Orange (Newburgh), Rensselaer (Troy), Rockland (Spring Valley), Schenectady, Suffolk, Ulster (Kingston) and Westchester (Yonkers).
Key to the initiative is cooperation and data and intelligence sharing among the primary police department, District Attorney's Office and Sheriff's Office and Probation Department in each county. State and federal agencies, including the state Department of Correction and Community Supervision, which supervises parolees, New York State Police and the United States Marshals Service, also participate in this collaborative partnership.
Grants to operate the program are administered through DCJS and fund personnel and technology that allow IMPACT partners to fight, reduce and prevent crime through analyzing data and trends, developing and sharing intelligence, and implementing enforcement efforts that target crime hot spots before patterns become full-blown trends.
Agencies in the 40 counties Upstate that don't participate in IMPACT also have received competitive grant funding that they have used for crime-fighting technology, such as electronic fingerprint processing and license plate readers, and personnel, including overtime for special assignments that target a community's unique crime problems.
More information on the program, strategies and its results can be found in the Operation IMPACT Annual Report below.
Crime Analysis Centers
Since 2008, building on the partnerships established under Operation IMPACT, state-of-the-art crime analysis centers have revolutionized the way that law enforcement works in four Upstate counties that report high volume of firearm and other violent crime.
Centers in Albany, Erie, Monroe and Onondaga counties analyze all crime in those counties, with a special emphasis on reports of shootings, gun violence, gun possession, gang activity and firearm-related homicides to determine patterns and trends to help law enforcement in the communities within those counties to more effectively fight those and other crimes including murder, sexual assaults, and burglaries.
Just like with Operation IMPACT, representatives of each county's primary police agency - located in the cities of Albany, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse - along with the District Attorney's and Sheriff's Offices, as well as the New York State Police and other state and federal agencies staff the centers, receiving and interpreting data to see how best to deploy law enforcement resources by identifying crime hot spots and patterns, to achieve the best results in solving crimes and preventing further incidents. In some instances, centers also work with agencies from neighboring counties, and also have established an information-sharing network with the State Police, the Nassau Lead Development Center and the Suffolk County Police Department Intel Center. This has resulted in more than 60 percent of crime data reported outside of New York City being shared and analyzed to enhance public safety in those communities and across New York State.
Ex-Offender Engagement Forums
Five communities hard hit by gun violence - Albany, the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, the Bronx, Harlem and Schenectady – have launched a nationally acclaimed re‐entry program, funded by New York State, in which law enforcement, community leaders, and ex-offenders work with individuals who have recently returned to their communities from prison to change their attitudes, thinking and behavior.
Parolees recently released from prison attend monthly forums, at which police and prosecutors stress to the parolees the consequences should they choose to pick up a gun, as well as, the choices they have to make to ensure that they do not re‐offend. The forums also provide parolees with community-based resources and access to social support services and programs to help them find housing, employment, and assistance that will allow them to successfully stay in their communities. The forums have proven successful at reducing gun violence and helping ex-offenders lead productive, law-abiding lives.
Assistance for Crime Victims
The New York State Office of Victim Services (OVS) is an important safety net for crime victims who have no other place to turn for help. The agency provides innocent victims of crime and their families with direct compensation so they can get the help they need – including, counseling, advocacy and medical care – so they can begin to rebuild their lives. OVS also funds a network of 186 community-based victims’ assistance programs across the state that provide direct help to men, women and children who have been victimized.
OVS is a payer of last resort, which means that that all other sources of compensation must have been exhausted before the agency can pay a victim or their family for any out-of-pocket losses related to the crime. None of that money comes from taxpayer dollars; all funding for compensation and victims’ assistance programs comes from fines and mandatory surcharges imposed on offenders in state and federal court.
In 2012, OVS paid out more than jQuery23 million to crime victims and their families, for new claims last year and ongoing assistance from claims in prior years. More information on OVS and its programs can be found at www.ovs.ny.gov