BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Buffalo Police have seen an intense increase in shootings in 2020. Deputy Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said a vast majority of these shootings are gang related, stemming from beef and social media.
Back in 2019, the Buffalo Police Department reported a 24% drop in shootings year to year. Gramaglia said the decrease was due to enhanced community engagement.
“We also saw about a nine or 10 year low in our shootings so it was more than just the one year anomaly," Gramaglia said.
Gramaglia said there were high expectations for 2020, then COVID hit.
“It has more people out on the street with nothing else to do but hang out on the street,” Gramaglia said.
From January through the end of September, there were 213 Shootings and 48 homicides. More than half of those crimes were committed after June 1st. Gramaglia said a high percentage of this gun violence is linked to a new type of gang activity.
"It's changed with the advent of social media where there's a lot more beefs being called out. It's more about the neighborhoods and respect just simply engaging in beefs with other street gangs," Gramaglia said.
Marc Falconetti is the Supervising Special Agent to the FBI safe streets task force. He said to find out what gangs are involved, the FBI examines shootings on a map.
"And then based on that evaluation we determine what our gang investigations or criminal investigations will be," Falconetti said.
To combat the uptick in violence, local state and federal law enforcement agencies are now having weekly "shoot review" meetings, where each and every shooting is discussed in detail. Representatives from BPD, the FBI, ATF, probation and parole all attend.
"I may know something another police agency doesn't know and then vice versa, they may know something I don't know. Putting it together and having that synergy could create stronger cases. It's really what makes this work," Falconetti said.
Yet, there have only been 11 arrests made in the 48 homicide cases and 19 arrests made in the 213 shootings. But that may soon change with grand juries moving full speed ahead.
“In some of these instances, we may not be ready to have enough probable cause to make an arrest on a shooting but through the grand jury process we finally get over the hump and get what we need... we are anticipating more cases going in so I think our solve rate, our clearance rate, should increase as the year comes to a close," Gramaglia said.