Growing concern over Buffalo homicides

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Buffalo’s homicide rate is averaging about one per week. In 2014 alone 62 people have met violent deaths. The city hasn’t seen this many homicides since 2006, a year which ended with 74 murders.

Most of the December’s violence has occurred east of Main Street in Buffalo’s inner city. Most have died by gunfire.

U.S. Attorney Bill Hochul added two prosecutors to fight violent crime and narcotics activity. While Hochul stops short of saying it is all gang related, he and Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda say the shootings are not random acts of violence.

“In virtually every case that I’m am familiar with, the target was either the person who was actually shot, or somebody who had the misfortune of being next to the person who was targeted,” Hochul said.

Residents of some neighborhoods are afraid to leave their homes.

“Females can’t even walk out their house without being terrified of being shot because of something their boyfriend did, or just being an innocent bystander,” east side resident Vakara Haynesworth said

Some say gang violence like this can come from street gangs fighting over turf, or from petty squabbles being settled by gunfire.

“They don’t care about life,” pastor James Giles, Coordinator of Buffalo peace makers, said. “They don’t even care about living…because you’ve got guys that are shooting people and then walking around like it’s all right,”

Pastor Charles Walker of Mt. Hope Community Church said neighborhood residents need to take a proactive approach.

“You know people talk about not saying anything, not divulging any information to the police,” he said, “Unless it happens to them, and then everybody wants to say something.”

U.S, Attorney Hochul said the community must take a stand and join law enforcement in the battle for safe streets.

“If they do tell us what they know about the violent predators in their midst, we can then combine those details with others and perhaps get some of these people off the street,” he said.

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