Funding Continues Support for Evidence-Based Work Through Gun Involved Violence Elimination Initiative and SNUG Street Outreach
Nationally Recognized Programs Drove Double-Digit Declines in Firearm Deaths and Shooting Incidents Last Year
Lowest Number of Murders on Record in New York State in 2017
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced more than $17.8 million to fund the Gun Involved Violence Elimination (GIVE) initiative and SNUG, New York's street outreach program - both of which received national recognition for employing an evidence-based approach toward reducing gun violence. The 17 counties and 20 law enforcement agencies participating in the GIVE initiative will share $13.3 million of the funding, while the 11 SNUG sites throughout the state will share $4.5 million. This funding will allow communities to build on the work supported by GIVE and SNUG, which helped them significantly reduce gun violence and homicides in 2017.
"By investing in evidence-based practices with a proven record of success, New York is committed to combatting gun violence in every corner of this great state," Governor Cuomo said. "From enacting the strongest gun safety laws in the nation to supporting these crucial programs, this administration is doing everything in its power to combat gun crime and protect New Yorkers."
Crime data from GIVE police agencies in 2017 show the number of individuals killed by gun violence has declined since 2016 by nearly 23 percent, while shooting incidents involving injury dropped by 15 percent. Firearm activity in GIVE jurisdictions also decreased compared to the five-year average between 2012 and 2016, with 21 percent fewer individuals killed by gun violence, and 7 percent fewer shooting incidents. There were 866 shooting victims in 2017, which was fewer than any of the previous eight years.
There were 546 murders statewide in 2017, which is a 13 percent decrease compared to the previous year and the lowest number since reliable record keeping began in 1965. Preliminary data indicates that firearm homicides dropped from 368 in 2016 to 292 in 2017 - a 20 percent decrease and the fewest on record.
This downward trend has continued for GIVE jurisdictions during the first quarter of 2018. Preliminary data shows that gun violence deaths dropped 67 percent, while shooting incidents decreased by 44 percent during the first three months of this year as compared to 2017.
Gun Involved Violence Elimination
Now in its fifth year, the GIVE initiative provides state funding to local law enforcement agencies for equipment, overtime, personnel, such as crime analysts and prosecutors, as well as coordinated training and technical assistance. Agencies participating in GIVE must design a gun violence reduction plan that employs at least two of the following evidence-based strategies:
- Hot-Spots Policing
- Focused Deterrence
- Street Outreach
- Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design
In addition, all participating agencies must integrate procedural justice into their plan. Procedural justice is designed to enhance police-community relations by ensuring interactions between law enforcement and individuals are fair, and that individuals who encounter police believe they are being treated equitably and respectfully during those encounters.
GIVE supports 20 police departments - Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Hempstead, Jamestown, Kingston, Mt. Vernon, Middletown, Nassau County, Newburgh, Niagara Falls, Poughkeepsie, Rochester, Schenectady, Spring Valley, Suffolk County, Syracuse, Troy, Utica and Yonkers - and their partner district attorneys' offices, probation departments, and sheriffs' offices in 17 counties. These counties - Albany, Broome, Chautauqua, Dutchess, Erie, Monroe, Nassau, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Orange, Rensselaer, Rockland, Schenectady, Suffolk, Ulster and Westchester counties - historically account for more than 80 percent of the violent crime that occurs in New York State outside of New York City.
SNUG Outreach Program
Established in 2009, the SNUG Street Outreach program provides state funding and training for non-profit organizations that manage street outreach programs in 11 communities, including 10 within GIVE counties - Albany, Buffalo, Hempstead, Mt. Vernon, Poughkeepsie, Rochester, Syracuse, Troy, Yonkers and Wyandanch - and another in the Bronx. The state's program has its own training curriculum, which was developed using best practices from other programs and integrates the use of crime analysis to guide its work.
SNUG employs outreach workers that have ties within the community who respond to shootings to prevent retaliation. These workers also help detect conflicts, and then resolve them peacefully before they lead to additional violence. The program also takes a public health approach toward the problem of street violence. Outreach workers engage individuals linked to gun violence and then work with case managers to connect them with resources, such as educational institutions and jobs.
New York's commitment to funding and supporting evidence-based practices through GIVE and SNUG - both administered by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services - was recognized last year by a national coalition of anti-gun violence organizations as a model that other states should follow to reduce violence and save lives. In December, the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, PICO National Network, and the Community Justice Reform Coalition issued a report titled "Investing in Intervention: The Critical Role of State-Level Support in Breaking the Cycle of Urban Gun Violence," which lauded New York's balanced investment in evidence-based violence reduction strategies and renewed focus on reducing gun-related violence. The report cited this approach, along with similar strategies implemented in Massachusetts and Connecticut, for having achieved and continuing to build on "impressive gains in public safety."
New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services Executive Deputy Commissioner Michael C. Green said, "GIVE and SNUG are long-term strategies to help improve public safety in areas of the state hardest hit by violent crime. Yet we are already seeing successes as these evidence-based practices take root and are institutionalized by law enforcement. While there is certainly more work to be done, this recent data is sound affirmation for our support and commitment to these gun violence reduction strategies."
New York State Sheriffs Association President Barry C. Virts said, "This funding will help deliver resources that our local law enforcement agencies need to crackdown on gun crime, continue to safeguard our communities, and help protect men, women and children across this state. Governor Cuomo's ongoing support of the GIVE and SNUG initiatives is proof positive that this administration will not back down until our neighborhoods are safe and free of gun-related crime. I commend the collaborative efforts at all levels of government and thank New York for investing in these results-driven initiatives."
District Attorneys Association of New York State President and Oneida County District Attorney Scott D. McNamara said, "We are proud to serve residents in one of the safest states in the nation, but with the understanding that more work needs to be done to continue to reduce gun violence and keep New Yorkers safe. Under the Governor's leadership, we have seen significant investments in evidence-based initiatives that have helped build stronger, safer communities, and we are grateful for the state's support as we work to hold criminals accountable and combat crime in every corner of the state."
National Network for Safe Communities Director David Kennedy said, "New York State's evidence-based gun violence prevention initiative is producing results on the ground and getting well-deserved national recognition. It's a pleasure and an honor for the National Network of Safe Communities to be a partner in this critical work with the state Division of Criminal Justice Services and the GIVE jurisdictions across the state."
Acting Albany Police Chief Robert Sears said, "Gun violence has no place in our communities. Through the Gun Involved Violence Elimination initiative, the Albany Police Department has been able to successfully reduce crime and violence in our city by having the necessary resources needed to strategically identify individuals who may find themselves involved in gun violence. The success of GIVE depends on a reliable funding stream so our officers and community partners, such as SNUG, can continue to work together to end senseless violence in our communities. I look forward to continuing to build upon the success we've already achieved here in Albany. I'd like to thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership and unwavering commitment to our agency, as well as his support for GIVE and ensuring New York communities remain safe."
Schenectady Police Chief Eric Clifford said, "We've seen first-hand the remarkable impact that the Gun Involved Violence initiative has had in Schenectady since its inception in 2014. Crime and gun violence continues to decline in our city, which certainly correlates to the resources and evidence-based training the Schenectady Police and our partnering law enforcement agencies are provided through GIVE. By funding GIVE and the SNUG program, Governor Cuomo has demonstrated his strong commitment to reducing crime both in our community and statewide."
Syracuse Police Chief Frank L. Fowler said, "Syracuse continues to make inroads into reducing gun violence and violent crime, thanks to the critical evidence-based work our law enforcement officers and street outreach workers are doing respectively as part of the Gun Involved Violence initiative and SNUG program. The GIVE initiative and SNUG program are fundamentally changing our approach toward the persistent scourge of street violence in our communities. And that work is now paying dividends in the form of reduce crime and lower gun violence. Governor Cuomo's support of these programs is further evidence of his commitment to improving public safety in Syracuse and across New York."
Rochester Police Chief Michael L. Ciminelli said, "We are very grateful to the State of New York for this critical financial support. The evidence-based strategy that this finding supports is making a significant contribution to the reduction of crime and violence in the City of Rochester."
Utica Police Chief Mark Williams said, "Without a doubt, the GIVE initiative has made Utica a safer community. Today, our officers are employing evidence-based practices such as focused deterrence and hotspots policing to help identify the individuals and areas of our city most prone to violent crime and then target them for enhanced enforcement. Governor Cuomo's support of these programs demonstrates his strong commitment to law enforcement and protecting the public."
Monroe County Office of Probation-Community Corrections Chief Probation Officer Larry P. Mattle said, "The GIVE initiative provides our probation officers and law enforcement partners with the resources and technical assistance we need to reduce gun violence and violent crime. This funding will help us continue the important work we are doing with probationers to help them recognize there are strong consequences if they continue patterns of criminal behavior and that there are resources available to help them start a new path in life. Monroe County's Swift, Certain and Fair pilot program is a collaborative initiative that follows these strategies and is made possible through our GIVE funding. Our thanks go out to Governor Cuomo for understanding the critical role GIVE and the SNUG program play in keeping our communities safe."
Robyn Thomas, Executive Director of the Giffords Law Center, said, "For too many families, the rhythm of daily life in their neighborhood includes hearing gunshots. Bullets don't just take lives; they forever alter the lives of those left behind. Communities in our cities are grappling with a public health crisis just as severe as the opioid epidemic. And while most states have yet to take steps to solve the problem, we are shining a light on three states that have. The programs highlighted in our report show what happens when we invest in communities and give struggling individuals a chance to choose an alternative path they wouldn't otherwise have. Focusing on more decent and humane efforts like this is saving lives, saving money, and making communities safer places for families to live."
The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (www.criminaljustice.ny.gov) is a multi-function criminal justice support agency with a variety of responsibilities, including law enforcement training; collection and analysis of statewide crime data; maintenance of criminal history information and fingerprint files; administrative oversight of the states DNA databank, in partnership with the New York State Police; funding and oversight of probation and community correction programs; administration of federal and state criminal justice funds; support of criminal justice-related agencies across the state; and administration of the state's Sex Offender Registry.
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