Dramatic Drop in Violence Attributed to Cooperative Effort
Among Local, State, and Federal Partners
Reduction in Shootings from 55 in 2015 to Three, Year-to-Date, in 2018
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler and City of Newburgh Police Chief Douglas Solomon, on Friday, October 19, 2018, announced that the City of Newburgh has experienced a dramatic reduction in the number of shooting incidents that resulted in someone being injured by gunfire. In fact, the City’s significant reduction in gun violence was cited during the Data-Driven Decision-Making Symposium sponsored by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), which brought together more than 350 law enforcement professionals from the twenty agencies supported by the DCJS’s Gun Involved Violence Elimination (GIVE) Initiative and the nineteen partner counties in the its Crime Analysis Center Network. Hoovler, Solomon, and DCJS have attributed the reduction in violence, in part, to a number of cooperative efforts between local, state, and federal law enforcement partners.
In 2015, the City of Newburgh experienced 55 incidents where shootings resulted in people being hit by gunfire. Since then, that number has been dramatically reduced, to 48 in 2016, and to 17 in 2017. So far in 2018, only three people have been hit by gunfire in the City. If that number holds up for the remainder of the year, it will represent a nearly 95% decrease in shootings in three years.
Since 2014, a broad law enforcement partnership has been in place to address gun violence in the City of Newburgh. That partnership has included the District Attorney’s Office, the City of Newburgh Police Department, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, and the Orange County Department of Probation, all of which have received DCJS funding for the effort. In addition, the partnership has included, among others, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, parole officials from the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, the New York State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the New York State Office of the Attorney General.
Two specific initiatives of that law enforcement partnership have been credited for much of the reduction in violence. First, since 2015, under the GIVE initiative, the Group Violence Intervention strategy has targeted and removed from the community some of the most-violent offenders in the City, while at the same time impressing on potential offenders the community’s outrage at the violence and offering assistance to offenders who wish to leave their violent lifestyle behind in favor of trying to become law-abiding members of the community.
Second, since 2017, DCJS has provided nearly $650,000 in funding for the City of Newburgh Non-Fatal Shooting Initiative, which supports, among other things, a District Attorney’s investigator, a City Police Department detective, and a crime analyst to develop evidence on shooting cases where the victim refuses to cooperate with law enforcement in solving the case. On Tuesday, at the GIVE Symposium, District Attorney Hoovler and representatives of the City Police Department and the Finn Institute, a research partner, announced the results of the first year and a half of the Non-Fatal Shooting Initiative. Finally, the District Attorney’s Office has dedicated a senior assistant district attorney to violence-reduction efforts in the City. Those strategies, and others, have reduced the number of shootings in the City and have resulted in law enforcement being able to solve other shooting incidents, while signaling to the community that law enforcement is concerned with targeting only violent offenders and not the entire communities where violence occurs.
“We are witnessing a historic change in the culture of violence in the City of Newburgh,” said District Attorney Hoovler, “reductions in shootings that can only benefit the City for the foreseeable future. None of it would have been possible without the thoughtfulness and support of DCJS and its Commissioner Mike Green, or without the cooperation of our law enforcement partners at the local, state, and federal levels. The numbers are impressive so far, but much remains to be done. My office will remain committed to reducing the level of violence in the City of Newburgh, so that, hopefully, we can make the City an even safer place to live, work, and learn.”
“Through the successful implementation of the Group Violence Intervention, Hot Spot Policing, Targeted Enforcement, and now The Non-Fatal Shooting Program,” said Police Chief Douglas Solomon, “we have been able to reinvent our tactics when it comes to combatting gun violence in the City of Newburgh. With these successes we believe we have turned a corner here in Newburgh and the worst is behind us. We can now focus more of our attention on building relationships with our young people here in the city through programs like the Youth Police Initiative. We will continue to work with our GIVE partners and keep the momentum going. When it comes to gun violence, there is absolutely zero tolerance here in Newburgh.”
“We are proud that the state was able to provide support for the resources, training, and technical assistance that has allowed Newburgh and the City’s law enforcement partners in Orange County to embrace smart, evidence-based approaches to target gun violence and save lives,” said DCJS Executive Deputy Commissioner Michael C. Green. “The Group Violence Intervention strategy, implemented with technical assistance from the National Network for Safe Communities, and the Non-Fatal Shooting Initiative are prime examples of programs that are proactive and engage both law enforcement and their partners in the community to enhance public safety and hold offenders accountable. Those programs, along with the state’s recent investment to expand the Crime Analysis Center Network to the Hudson Valley, are clearly paying dividends in the form of a dramatic reduction in gun violence throughout the City.”