ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — It’s been over three weeks since federal authorities announced the launching of the VIPER Task Force, aimed at reducing gun violence in Rochester and Buffalo.
The VIPER team initiated a 60-day surge focused on removing known violent gun offenders from the streets. Officials from the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced a status update Monday with the following results from both Rochester, Buffalo and Niagara Falls through VIPER:
- District Wide
- Firearm Related Arrests – 125
- Narcotics Related Arrests – 217
- Violent Felony Arrests – 142
- Firearms Seized – 68
- Firearm Related Arrests – 69
- Narcotics Related Arrests – 41
- Violent Felony Arrests – 86
- Firearms Seized – 51
- Buffalo/Niagara Falls
- Firearm Related Arrests – 56
- Narcotics Related Arrests – 176
- Violent Felony Arrests – 56
- Firearms Seized – 17
Officials say to date, 18 defendants have been adopted for federal prosecution, and 52 other defendant’s arrests are currently being reviewed to determine whether federal prosecution is appropriate.
“These latest numbers suggest that the all hands-on-deck, collaborative approach promoted by the VIPER Task Force is yielding positive results,” U.S. Attorney James Kennedy, Jr. said in a statement.
“Violent offenders, drug traffickers, and those with illegal guns are — or, at least, should be — starting to realize that they are the focus not only of the attention of every law enforcer in our community — but the attention of a growing number of community members themselves. Hopefully, that realization will cause those considering whether illegally to possess or use a gun to think twice and help them to recognize that they will only find lasting respect and protection once they choose to put the gun down.”
The VIPER Task Force involves enhanced information sharing, enhanced proactive investigations and prosecutions, and the improvement relations between the community and law enforcement.