by Kat Massey
On August 2, the US Attorney General announced VIPER’S results (Federal Violence Prevention and Elimination Response Task Force) in the Buffalo and Rochester district through July 30 (justice.gov). For Buffalo/Niagara Falls, there were 56 firearms related arrests, among 288 arrests. The seized firearms totaled 17. (VIPER was created on July 7.)
Here’s some background about VIPER from the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) website:
– The five strike forces “enable sustained coordination across multiple jurisdictions to help disrupt the worst gun trafficking corridors,” stated the US Attorney General.
– They are to provide a “60 day surge” aimed at removing violent gun offenders from the streets to enhance public safety. (Side Note: that timeframe seems stingy for the mission.)
– Each strike force region will be led by a designated US Attorney who will collaborate with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) along with state and local law enforcement partners.
– They will use the latest data, evidence and intelligence from crime scenes to identify patterns, leads and potential suspects in violent crimes.
– Those strike forces represent “one important concrete step in implementing the DOJ’s comprehensive Violent Crime Reduction Strategy.” Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is included.
The DOJ additionally reported President Biden (June 23) announced the ATF would take steps to hold rogue gun dealers accountable for their actions.
“FIREARM TRAFFICKERS PROVIDING WEAPONS TO VIOLENT OFFENDERS ARE AN ENFORCEMENT PRIORITY ACROSS THE COUNTRY.” (US Attorney General)
Recently, the White House has appropriately taken the lead. In New York State, the former governor declared a new State of Emergency around gun violence. A Public Health Crisis has been declared in Erie County for gun violence. Mayor Brown and Congressman Brian Higgins announced the City will use $5 million from the American Rescue Plan for it.
Much is to be used for data collection to determine weapons hotspots and to effect removal of them.