Operation Impact in Niagara Falls

September 3, 2010 Updated Sep 3, 2010 at 6:46 PM EDT

By Kyla Igoe

September 3, 2010 Updated Sep 3, 2010 at 6:46 PM EDT

Niagara Falls, NY (WKBW) - Drugs, violence, and weapons: it's all linked to the gang lifestyle. Now a state-wide initiative, called Operation Impact is underway to crack down on these violent crimes.
In Niagara County, 14 different agencies make up the Niagara Partnership. This is the 7th year the Niagara Falls Police Department is participating in the initiative.

"We're up over a 100 percent in certain arrests," said Niagara Falls Police Superintendent John Chella. "Agencies are also talking together, working together, so everyone is communicating."

In Niagara Falls, the initiative has allowed the police department to be part of the Violent Crime Impact Teams, Niagara Regional Gang Task Force, Gun Reduction and Violence Eradication, and community outreach programs like the Gang Recognition Education and Training also known as G.R.E.A.T.

"In some areas, the graffiti is now down, and lot of gang members are now gone," said Lt. Kelly Rizzo.

This year, the Niagara Falls Police Department has received $323,465 in state funding for Operation Impact.