Law enforcement agencies to receive more than $2M in state funds

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More than $2 million will support local law enforcement agencies that participate in the state’s Gun Involved Violence Elimination initiative. The Rochester Police Department and the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Office and Probation Department will share the funds.

On June 3, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced $18.2 million in funding, up $3.8 million from the year before, to support law enforcement agencies that participate in GIVE, a program that was established in 2014. Administered by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services GIVE uses evidence-based strategies to reduce shootings and save lives in 20 communities in 17 counties hardest hit by gun violence, officials say.

“Over the past few weeks, we have seen gun violence cause unimaginable pain, suffering and loss for individuals, neighborhoods, and our entire nation,” Hochul says. “In honor of Gun Violence Awareness Month, we must double down on our commitment to stop the senseless and tragic killing of our friends, loved ones and neighbors.”

Homicides and shootings in Rochester continue to rise. Over the past weekend, seven people in Rochester were shot. Two lost their lives.

“This violence is a deep-seated problem that requires our entire community to step up to help solve. I ask for cooperation – speak up and share what you know to stem this deathly tide of violence,” Rochester Mayor Malik Evans said in response to the most recent shootings. “I also ask for people to put down their weapons – and to step in to help others in their lives turn away from violence.”

According to data from the Rochester Police Department, there have been 38 homicide incident reports with firearms from January to the end of May 2022. In 2014 there were 42 reports during the same period, the highest number recorded.

Homicides by firearms are primarily concentrated in the northern neighborhoods of Clinton and Lake avenues, RPD data shows. In both 2020 and 2021, more than half of all incident reports were in those two neighborhoods. So far in 2022, they have accounted for 69 percent of incident reports.

In a move to strengthen gun laws in New York, a legislative package—10 bills—was signed into law Monday. The package aims to ban the sale of semiautomatic rifles to anyone under 21 by requiring a license and prohibits the purchase of body armor by those not engaged in an eligible profession. Legislation strengthens the Red Flag Law by expanding the list of people who can file for Extreme Risk Protection Orders and requires law enforcement to file ERPOs under a specified set of circumstances. 

Threatening mass harm now is a crime in the state, new semiautomatic handguns require microstamping, and enhanced information sharing between state, local and federal agencies is necessary when guns are used in crimes to help with gun tracing. Social media platforms are required to provide a mechanism for users to report hateful conduct. The definition of a firearm has been revised to close the “other gun” loophole, among other regulations contained in the package. 

“While we are taking expedient action to enhance New York State’s nation-leading gun laws, we recognize that gun violence is a nationwide problem,” Hochul says. “I once again urge Congress to follow our lead and take immediate action to pass meaningful gun violence prevention measures. Lives depend on it.”

Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor. Jacob Schermerhorn contributed to this article. The Beacon welcomes comments from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name.

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