ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — It’s been two 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 Friday with the following combined results from both Rochester and Buffalo through VIPER:
- 138 total arrests
- 45 firearm related arrests
- 45 narcotics related arrests
- 38 violent felony arrests
- 22 total illegal firearms seized
- 15 defendants adopted for federal prosecution (21 additional defendants currently under review for federal prosecution)
As of Friday afternoon, Rochester had gone nine consecutive days without a homicide in the city. It’s the longest such streak for Rochester since the end of May and into June.
There were 17 homicides in Rochester from June 4th through July 14. The city so far has seen 40 homicides to date, putting Rochester on pace for its highest murder rate in history. In 2019, the city saw 32 homicides, up from 28 in each year of 2017 and 2018. In 2020, that number jumped to 52, an increase of 150% over three years.
“All residents in both Rochester and Buffalo deserve, and are entitled, to feel safe in their own homes,” said U.S. Attorney Kennedy in a press release. “Our efforts are designed to remove the worst of the worst from the streets of our communities, and the guns from their hands, so that residents can do just that. The tremendous coordination between federal, state, and local law enforcement combined with the outstanding cooperation we have received from the community have combined thus far to produce some pretty remarkable results.”
Officials say the VIPER Task Force involves enhanced information sharing, enhanced proactive investigations and prosecutions, and the improvement relations between the community and law enforcement. The Task Force includes members from local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a disaster emergency on gun violence on for the state of New York earlier this month, a first-of-its-kind disaster emergency for the country.
Across the nation, there has been an increase in violent crimes. The 72 largest cities have already seen a 17% increase in crime this year compared to last.
Officials announce launch of VIPER Task Force
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