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New York Gov. Kathy Hochul Announces Crime Center Expansion

The Capital Region Crime Analysis Center in Albany will be growing as part of a $500,000 investment that includes more space and new staff. The center is part of a state-supported network that provides aid to law enforcement agencies.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul standing in front of a podium.
(TNS) — New York Gov. Kathy Hochul recently announced the expansion of the Capital Region Crime Analysis Center in Albany, one of 10 centers in a state-supported network providing critical crime analysis, information, and investigative support to help law enforcement agencies more effectively solve, reduce, and prevent crime.

The center received a $500,000 upgrade, making it four times the size of its former location with space for twice the number of staff.

"There is no greater obligation than ensuring every New Yorker can live in safety, and that has always been my number one priority," Hochul said. "We have leveraged local, state, and federal resources to create a one-of-a-kind network that is the backbone of local law enforcement agencies' crime-fighting efforts.

"We will continue to use state-of-the-art tools and technology to analyze data and share information — allowing investigators to solve murders, robberies, burglaries and gun crimes across the state, and creating a safer New York for all."

Hochul toured the center with Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan and Albany County Executive Dan McCoy. Through a unique partnership between the state Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ( ATF), the 10 centers access the ATF's National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) and by this summer, each center will have technology on-site to process shell casings and identify potential matches from different crime scenes in multiple jurisdictions across the state.

This identification process previously took up to a month but will now take 24 to 48 hours and has a 99.6 accuracy rating.

The Capital Region Crime Analysis Center serves Columbia, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, and Washington Counties and provides assistance to any police agency or prosecutor's office upon request.

This center is presently staffed by 24 analysts and personnel, either funded by DCJS or assigned by local, state, and federal agencies, including the Albany and Schenectady police departments; Albany County Probation Department; New York State Police; New York National Guard; New York-New Jersey High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA); ATF; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation ( FBI).

The new, 4,100-square-foot location allows the center to have space for up to 39 employees.

In 2022, staff at the 10 centers responded to more than 66,000 requests for assistance from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, helping agencies solve murders, robberies, burglaries, gun crimes, and other serious cases. Just last week, the East Greenbush Police Department announced it had solved the 1994 murder of 81-year-old Wilomeana "Violet" Filkins; staff of the Capital Region center provided investigative support that assisted with the case.

In the Governor's 2023 State of the State agenda, Hochul outlined a comprehensive public safety plan and investments to drive down gun violence and violent crime that includes:

  • Expanding the state's Crime Analysis Center Network to New York City.
  • Doubling funding for the Gun Involved Violence Elimination (GIVE) initiative to $36 million. The GIVE initiative supports 20 police departments in 17 counties that account for more than 80 percent of the violent crime that occurs in New York State outside of New York City: Albany, Broome, Chautauqua, Dutchess, Erie, Monroe, Nassau, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Orange, Rensselaer, Rockland, Schenectady, Suffolk, Ulster, and Westchester. District attorneys' offices, probation departments, sheriff's offices, and other partners in those counties also receive funding through the initiative.
  • In 2022, shootings in several GIVE jurisdictions decreased from the year before, including Buffalo (32 percent decrease), Long Island (29 percent decrease), Westchester (17 percent), and Rochester (13 percent).
  • Bolstering State Police support by increasing Community Stabilization Units from 16 to 25 communities, funding an unprecedented four academy classes, and expanding presence on federal task forces.
  • More than tripling funding to $52 million, up from $12 million, for the state's 62 district attorney's offices and sustaining discovery and pretrial services funding for costs associated with the implementation of recent criminal justice reforms to discovery and pretrial procedures, which took effect Jan. 1, 2020.

Last year, shootings dropped 17 percent in New York City and 15 percent outside of the city. Additionally, 10,093 guns were seized by all law enforcement agencies across New York last year. This marks a 59 percent increase from 2019, during which 6,819 guns were seized, and an 11 percent increase from 2021, during which 9,088 guns were seized.

Gun seizures by the State Police are also up 160 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels, from 528 seizures in 2019 to 1,376 in 2022. State Police also seized 120 ghost guns in 2022, which is 85 percent more than in 2021.

Since taking office, Hochul has taken actions to strengthen New York State's gun violence prevention laws by advancing efforts to:

  • Ban ghost guns.
  • Expand bail eligibility for gun crimes.
  • Toughen prosecutions of gun trafficking.
  • Mandate the use of the Red Flag law, leading to more than 5,400 Extreme Risk Protection Orders issued, which was a 300 percent increase from 2021.
  • Raise the age to purchase semi-automatic weapons to 21.
  • Launch the first-in-the-nation Interstate Task Force on Illegal Guns, which will meet again in mid-February.
  • Triple State investments in gun violence interruption programs.

"Albany is proud to be home to the newest and largest Crime Analysis Center in New York State. The work happening here is helping us take a record number of illegal guns off our streets, apprehend violent individuals, and identify trends to help inform our proactive deployment of police resources. Thank you to Governor Hochul and DCJS Commissioner Rossana Rosado for partnering with Chief Hawkins and the Albany Police Department and making this important investment that is enhancing public safety every day," Sheehan said.

"New Yorkers deserve the peace of mind that comes with living in safe communities, and this $500,000 investment for an expanded crime analysis center in Albany is another demonstration of Governor Hochul's commitment to public safety. Today I was happy to tour the new facility with the Governor and Mayor Sheehan to see firsthand the important work being done to assist local law enforcement in getting guns off the street and preventing violent crime in the future," McCoy added.

©2023 The Record, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.