FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 9, 2009
SCHUMER: MILLIONS IN FEDERAL FUNDS SET TO FLOW TO ROCHESTER FOR ZERO TOLERANCE ANTI-CRIME INITIATIVE AND OTHER CRIME PREVENTION PROGRAMS; FUNDS WILL KEEP COPS ON THE BEAT, ENSURE SAFER STREETS
Money Will Allow Rochester To Strengthen Programs That Resulted In 12% Fewer Murders In 2008
Standing With Mayor Duffy, Schumer Detailed How Funding For Zero Tolerance, COPS and Byrne Grants Will Continue to Fight Crime - Put More Cops on Rochester Streets, Boost Resources and Training
Schumer: Keeping People Safe Is The Single Most Important Job Of Any Government; This Money Will Allow Rochester To Do Just That
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced today that Rochester will receive $2.5 million for crime control and prevention programs from the economic stimulus package and omnibus appropriations bill. The funding includes an estimated $500,000 for Rochester to put more police officers on the streets through the COPS program, $1.3 million for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program (Byrne/JAG) to support law enforcement efforts and $675,000 for the Zero Tolerance Anti-Crime Initiative to combat violent crime in the city.
Schumer said that these law enforcement initiatives have been some of the most successful federal programs, helping to reduce the number of homicides in the Rochester area by 12% and providing vital funding to local law enforcement to put more cops on the street. Funding will help expand the programs to ensure that local police departments have the resources they need to keep crime down during the economic down turn.
“You don’t need a degree in criminal justice to know that more dollars for these law enforcement programs mean fewer murders and crimes,” said Schumer. “Year-after-year these much-needed programs have helped decrease the number of murders in the Rochester area and fought crime. I will continue to fight to make sure these programs receive the funding they need to operate effectively to help keep residents in Rochester and New York State safe.”
“I want to thank Senator Schumer for his continued support for our city,” said Rochester Mayor Robert J. Duffy. “These additional funds will go a long way towards strengthening our focused anti-crime initiative. The bottom line is that I want people to feel safe on our streets and in their neighborhoods. These resources will help us achieve that goal.”
The rise in violent crime has forced the Rochester Police Department to devote a significant amount of resources to overtime costs, neighborhood watches and empowerment teams, fuel and vehicle maintenance, and other expenses in order to combat this epidemic. This has severely exhausted the City’s budget for law enforcement needs.
In October 2007, in response to several tragic homicides, Mayor Duffy launched an anti-crime initiative that has dubbed “Zero Tolerance” to combat the rising homicide rate in the City, and enhance the long-term crime reduction policy. The “Zero Tolerance” initiative is a multi-faceted approach using police resources to target violence through proactive, highly visible enforcement and engagement tactics in select areas of the City based on crime patterns.
The Zero Tolerance program has yielded substantive crime reductions in the city: According to the Rochester Police Department, in 2008 homicides overall were down 12 percent, with firearm homicides down 18 percent. Firearm violence overall was down 12 percent from 2007 and firearm robberies were down 4.5 percent. In addition, shooting incidents (fatal or non-fatal) were down 11 percent compared to 2007, and shooting victims (fatal or non-fatal) were down six percent.
Rochester Police Chief David Moore said, “Our focused initiative uses data and intelligence to target specific hot spots. I want criminals to think twice before they carry an illegal firearm on the streets of Rochester. Our police officers will be omnipresent to disrupt and prevent criminal activity and enforce the law.”
Despite the success of the Zero Tolerance Program, however, federal funding is needed for the continued operation of the initiative. Last year, the City of Rochester submitted a letter to Senator Schumer requesting funding to maintain and enhance the anti-crime program.
Recognizing the need for the continuing function of the Zero Tolerance Program Senator Schumer helped secure $675,000 in the omnibus appropriations bill to help sustain the program in Rochester.
Senator Schumer has supported other law enforcement programs in the past. Schumer and Vice President Joe Biden were two of the original sponsors of the bill that created the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, a program that awards grants to state and local law enforcement agencies to hire and train police officers and acquire and deploy new, crime-fighting technologies. Schumer said that the COPS program has been one of the most successful federal programs, helping local law enforcement to put more cops on the street to keep Rochester residents safe. A proven boost to local law enforcement, Rochester has received $2.7 million in COPS grants since the inception of the COPS program, allowing them to hire 27 new cops.
In an effort to boost local law enforcement efforts through a proven-effective program, Schumer supported the inclusion of millions of additional dollars for the COPS program and Byrne/JAG in the federal economic stimulus package. The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program (JAG) grants are used for a wide range of programs and resources to prevent and control crime, including law enforcement programs, prevention and education program, planning, and technology improvement programs and crime victims and witness protection programs.
Today, Schumer announced they were successfully able to include $1 billion in the final economic stimulus package for hiring or rehiring police officers across the nation under the COPS program. Schumer announced that Rochester would receive approximately $500,000 from the COPS funding; to help keep more officers on the streets. Schumer also announced that the package would include $2 billion nationwide in Byrne/JAG grants, of which over $1.3 million will go to Rochester.
Schumer today said that the millions of dollars in the COPS and Byrne/JAG programs would go a long way in helping to boost law enforcement efforts and keeping local residents safe. Schumer cited the impact the COPS program has had, where additional police officers can make a dramatic difference in the effectiveness of foot patrols and community policing initiatives.
In an effort to help maintain and enhance the Zero Tolerance, COPS and JAG Programs, Schumer fought to secure funding in the omnibus spending bill and economic recovery package. Schumer said he would continue to work to not only maintain these programs, but expand them to ensure the local police departments in Rochester have the resources they need to keep crime and homicides down.
Schumer added, “When it comes to protecting our citizens, we need to be tough on crime and smart on prevention. These much needed programs will help bring effective crime fighting tools and resources that allow Rochester law enforcement to reduce crime in the city. I will continue to fight for funds that help keep our communities safe.”