BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Police in Buffalo are seeing a disturbing spike in gun violence.
Numbers provided to 7 Eyewitness News from the Buffalo Police Department show 72 people have been shot so far this year in the Queen City. Of those shot, 20 have died.
That’s significantly higher than last year, when, during the entire year 36 people were shot, and 10 died.
“We’re not being protected here in this community. There’s only so much anti-violence groups can do,” said Pastor James Giles of the Buffalo Peacemakers. “We have far too many weapons on our city streets.”
Giles says he’s greatly concerned with the amount of illegal guns or legal guns in the wrong hands being used to shoot and kill people in Buffalo. He says access to these guns is the biggest issue plaguing the community.
“This stuff is not going to stop. If you are involved in activities in these streets, you’re going to use that gun.”
Early Friday morning, three people were shot in Buffalo and two died. Buffalo Police say they’re still investigating to see if those shootings are connected.
The rise in gun violence is being seen nationwide. President Joe Biden is working to pass new gun control measures which mainly target ghost guns and homemade guns. Giles says those are not the problem in Buffalo.
“They are handguns,” he said.
John Evans, President of the Buffalo Police Union says police officer’s hands are tied as well.
“Cops aren’t allowed to be cops anymore,” he said. “It’s almost like you see these criminals and wave to them on the streets. We’ll come, take a report, but that’s about all we can do after a crime occurs.”
Evans says because of police reform, officers do not engage.
“Police are to avoid confrontation,” he said. “Because if you get in a confrontation and it turns physical, you’re the bad guy.”
Evans also says bail reform is a big issue.
“If you get caught with an illegal weapon, you’re not going to spend more than an hour incarcerated.”
Mayor Byron Brown released a statement on the recent violence saying, “I am deeply concerned regarding the recent homicides. As I’ve said repeatedly, any one homicide is one too many. Police are working hard and working with the community to solve these crimes as effectively as possible.”
If you know anything, you should call the Buffalo Police Confidential Tippling at 716-847-2255.