Contact: Janine Kava, Press Office
(518) 457-8906 or cell: (518) 275-5508
janine.kava@dcjs.ny.gov   

For immediate release:
Thursday, Aug. 7, 2008

Operation IMPACT grants to combat robberies, drug crime
and grand larcenies in Binghamton and Broome County

BINGHAMTON – Despite New York State’s daunting fiscal crisis, Commissioner Denise E. O’Donnell of the Division of Criminal Justice Services today announced the state will continue to support crucial crime-fighting initiatives in Binghamton and Broome County.

“Governor Paterson and I believe that even in these very difficult fiscal times, we must continue to make public safety a priority,” Commissioner O’Donnell said. “If we are to revitalize our cities and enhance economic development, our communities must be safe for families and businesses.”

Commissioner O’Donnell today joined law enforcement and local elected officials at the Binghamton Police Department to announce $467,554 in Operation IMPACT grants to support anti-crime measures in this region.

Operation IMPACT is the state’s program to reduce violent and gun crime in the 17 Upstate and Long Island counties that report 80 percent of the crime outside of the City of New York. It embraces intelligence-based policing, partnerships among law enforcement and community organizations, deployment of technology and timely use of accurate crime data.

IMPACT grants fund personnel, including crime analysts, assistant district attorneys, field intelligence officers, probation officers and investigators. The grant also supports technology, such as mobile surveillance cameras, crime mapping software, digital fingerprinting equipment and laptop computers.

Four law enforcement agencies in Broome County will share the IMPACT award: Binghamton Police Department ($230,403); Broome County District Attorney’s Office ($137,843); Broome County Sheriff’s Office ($96,308); and Port Dickinson Police Department ($3,000). In addition to DCJS, several other local, state and federal agencies participate in the IMPACT initiative: the Endicott and Johnson City police departments; the Broome County Probation Department, New York State Police, New York State Parole, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office and U.S. Marshals Service.

The IMPACT partnership in Broome County has embraced technology to fight crime, using crime mapping to determine the city’s crime hotspots and then utilizing that information to direct patrols. Data gathered via crime mapping also are being used by the department to determine the best location for its surveillance cameras. The city currently has eight cameras operational, with another three going online within the next month. In addition, an officer now monitors the surveillance cameras and the information garnered is used to direct patrols by the department’s Community Response Team.

The Broome County IMPACT strategy for this year will focus on reducing robberies – many of which are driven by drug activity – and grand larcenies, particularly theft of credit cards. It includes: saturation patrols in partnership with the Sheriff’s Office and State Police; zero tolerance sweeps, during which police will join with code enforcement officers to attack quality of life crimes; warrant sweeps; and an ongoing program to ensure that parolees and probationers are complying with the terms of their supervision.

During the first six months of this year, Binghamton has reported a 6 percent decrease in overall reported crime, with the biggest decline seen in motor vehicle thefts (26 percent) as compared to the same timeframe for 2007. The incidence of firearm-related violent crime also is down – 8 incidents as compared to 10 – during the first six months of 2008 as compared to 2007.

“In the past decade, we have made historic strides in crime reduction in this state,” Commissioner O’Donnell said. “We cannot lose ground and we must never become complacent where public safety is concerned. Vigilance and consistent focus, pressure and smart strategies are necessary to achieving long-term results in crime reduction.”

IMPACT grants are awarded competitively, with priority given to those jurisdictions with the highest volume of crime. In addition to providing IMPACT partners with grant funds, DCJS also has a technical assistance team that provides on-site training, guidance and assistance in developing effective crime-reduction strategies that address each jurisdiction’s unique needs and trends

The state’s other IMPACT jurisdictions are Albany, Chautauqua, Dutchess, Erie, Monroe, Nassau, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Orange, Rensselaer, Rockland, Schenectady, Suffolk, Ulster and Westchester counties.

DCJS continually monitors the effectiveness of the program through monthly crime trend meetings with its IMPACT partners. These meetings provide each IMPACT site with an opportunity to present an ongoing overview of their strategy and how it relates to the crime problem in their jurisdiction as determined by their analysis. The crime trends meetings also provides a forum for the local IMPACT partners to discuss obstacles that they are encountering and to identify any additional needs that they have that will assist them in reducing crime.