Governor Kathy Hochul today announced decreases in gun violence in Rochester last year and outlined her Fiscal Year 2024 Executive Budget proposals, which include more than $20 million for public safety initiatives in the City of Rochester and Monroe County to further drive down crime, reduce recidivism and strengthen the community. Data from the Rochester Police Department show a 13 percent reduction in shooting incidents with injury — from 350 to 303 shootings — comparing last year to 2021.Data also shows that murders were down 11 percent during the same period. There were also 67 fewer individuals injured by gunfire — from 419 to 352 individuals — when comparing 2022 to 2021. Those declines continued through the first eight weeks of this year, with 14 fewer shooting incidents involving injury, a 42 percent reduction, and 20 fewer people injured by gunfire, a decrease of 51 percent, when compared to the same timeframe in 2022. Governor Hochul outlined the data during an event this morning at the Boys and Girls Club of Rochester, where she also announced $2 million in new state funding to community-based organizations through Project RISE and a $112,000 grant for upgrades to the club’s teen center.
“These direct investments in Rochester and other local communities will help to drive down crime and break the vicious cycle of recidivism that prevents many New Yorker’s from getting the second chance they deserve,”Governor Hochul said. “We are working overtime to continue the positive trends we are seeing of decreasing gun violence and crime because one New Yorker lost to gun violence is one too many.”
New York City and communities participating in the State’s Gun Involved Violence Elimination (GIVE) initiative also reported the fewest shooting incidents with injury last month since the first half of 2020. The 20 police departments participating in GIVE, including Rochester, reported 50 shooting incidents with injury in January 2023, the fewest since March 2020, while New York City reported 73 incidents, the fewest since May 2020. Law enforcement agencies across the state seized 10,093 guns last year, an 11 percent increase from 2021, during which 9,088 guns were seized. Gun seizures by the New York State Police also increased 171 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels: 1,429 in 2022 compared to 528 seizures in 2019. State Police also seized 120 ghost guns in 2022, which is 85 percent more than in 2021.
Governor Hochul outlined the progress made in the fight against gun violence and violent crime since she convened local, state and federal stakeholders last summer. The Governor met with key stakeholders, including Rochester Mayor Malik Evans, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello, Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter, Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley and several other federal, state and local law enforcement leaders, today to discuss further collaboration and cooperation to sustain that progress and reduce the number of individuals injured and killed by gun violence.
The Governor shared the local impact of public safety investments proposed in the FY 2024 Executive Budget that will help build a safer and stronger community in the City of Rochester and Monroe County. Specifically, more than $20 million will be committed to local law enforcement and community partners in the area to help keep New Yorkers safe and ensure swift and fair justice. This commitment reflects a tripling of state support for local public safety efforts in the area since 2020, an increase of $14 million through the last two years from an initial $6 million. This funding will be allocated to participating agencies and organizations within the State’s GIVE initiative, regional crime analysis center, aid to prosecution and discovery, SNUG street outreach program, alternatives to incarceration and pretrial services providers, and county re-entry task force.
In addition to assisting law enforcement efforts, these services play an important role in identifying and helping individuals at risk of being involved in the criminal justice system and improving public safety by connecting them to programs, including substance use and mental health services, social work and case management, and job training and employment opportunities. Funding notices and specific award amounts will follow enactment of the budget. The Governor also made the case for her legislative proposal in the Executive Budget to remove the language in the State’s bail laws requiring judges to apply the “least restrictive” means when deciding whether an individual arrested for a serious crime should be released or supervised before their trial. Last week, more than 100 community leaders and elected officials signed a letter in support of these changes.
At today’s event, Governor Hochul announced $2 million is being awarded through Project RISE, administered by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, to be shared equally among Coordinated Care Services, Community Resource Collaborative, the Ibero-American Action League, and Villa of Hope. Each of those awarded organizations will use a minimum of 25 percent of its grant to support grassroots organizations. A total of 12 organizations will receive funding through that grassroots subaward and technical support: Beyond the Sanctuary, A Horses Friend, 9th Floor Art Collective, Operation Go, the Re-entry and Community Development Center, Rise Up Rochester, ROCovery Fitness, Roc the Peace, Saving AJ, Tribe Seven, Ubuntu Community Village, and Untrapped Ministries. Project RISE works through local steering committees that develop a comprehensive plan for funding that addresses the unique needs of their neighborhoods with the goal of building the community’s capacity to implement and sustain programming to address the underlying factors contributing to violence in their community; and uses a healing and equity lens to improve responses to violence. In addition to Rochester, Project RISE funding will benefit Albany, Buffalo, Mount Vernon, Newburgh, Syracuse and Yonkers.
Finally, Empire State Development Corporation is delivering a $112,000 grant to allow the Boys and Girls Club to upgrade its Teen Center with modern lighting, lounge spaces with updated, soothing colors and improved technology. The Center provides critical support and services, including workforce development training, to teens ranging in age from 13 to 19.
Division of Criminal Justice Services Commissioner Rossana Rosado said, “Too many New Yorkers have been lost to senseless gun violence. At DCJS, we are committed to putting comprehensive programs, like GIVE and Project RISE, in place to help build safer and stronger communities throughout our state. We are indebted to Governor Kathy Hochul for ‘doubling down’ on public safety investments and initiatives to protect New Yorkers and end the scourge of violence.”
State Senator Jeremy Cooney said, “This is a moment for leadership, and I want to thank our Governor and our community partners who are committed to having the tough conversations necessary to make Rochester safe for all families, and all neighborhoods. While there is no perfect solution, we’re listening to the community’s plea to do something. And I believe this is a start. We will build a safer, better Rochester.”
Rochester Mayor Malik D. Evans said, “There is not a governor in America who is more committed to public safety than Governor Kathy Hochul. Whether it’s through common-sense gun laws, unprecedented investments in children and families or advancing the pace of crime-fighting technologies, the governor’s resolve to end violent crime and bring peace to our communities has been determined, decisive and resourceful at every turn. I am grateful for Kathy Hochul’s support on this critical issue, which is helping us create a safe, equitable and prosperous Rochester.”
Governor Hochul’s FY 2024 Executive Budget proposal includes $337 million – an increase of $110 million – for statewide programs and initiatives proven to drive down gun violence and violent crime, including:
- Doubling funding for the GIVE initiative to $36 million. GIVE supports 20 police departments in 17 counties that account for more than 80 percent of the violent crime that occurs in New York State outside of New York City: Albany, Broome, Chautauqua, Dutchess, Erie, Monroe, Nassau, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Orange, Rensselaer, Rockland, Schenectady, Suffolk, Ulster and Westchester. District attorneys’ offices, probation departments, sheriffs’ offices, and other partners in those counties also receive funding through the initiative.
- Bolstering State Police support by increasing Community Stabilization Units from 16 to 25 communities, funding an unprecedented four academy classes and expanding presence on federal task forces.
- More than tripling funding to $52 million, up from $12 million, for the State’s 62 district attorney’s offices and sustaining discovery and pretrial services funding for costs associated with implementation of recent criminal justice reforms to discovery and pretrial procedures, which took effect January 1, 2020.
- Expanding the State’s Crime Analysis Center Network to New York City, bringing to 11 the number of centers in the network that is supported by the state in partnership with local law enforcement agencies. Monroe County was home to one of the first four crime analysis centers established, and the Monroe Crime Analysis Center was the first to provide real-time information, data and analysis to law enforcement agencies
Since taking office, Governor Hochul has taken actions to strengthen New York State’s gun violence prevention laws by banning ghost guns, large capacity magazines and body armor; expanding bail eligibility for gun crimes; raising the age to purchase semi-automatic weapons to 21; and launching the first-in-the-nation Interstate Task Force on Illegal Guns, which will meet again in mid-March, among other initiatives.