The U.S. Attorney's Office provided an update Monday on the VIPER Task Force created to help tackle a spike in violence across Western New York and Rochester.
Between July 7 and July 30, officials say 69 firearm-related arrests were made in Rochester, along with 41 narcotics-related arrests and 86 violent felony arrests. Fifty-one firearms have been seized in the city.
During that same time frame in the Buffalo and Niagara Falls area, there were 56 firearm-related arrests, 176 narcotics-related arrests, 56 violent felony arrests and 17 firearms seized.
“These latest numbers suggest that the all hands-on-deck, collaborative approach promoted by the VIPER Task Force is yielding positive results,” U.S. Attorney Kennedy said in a statement. “Violent offenders, drug traffickers, and those with illegal guns are—or, at least, should be—starting to realize that they are the focus not only of the attention of every law enforcer in our community—but the attention of a growing number of community members themselves. Hopefully, that realization will cause those considering whether illegally to possess or use a gun to think twice and help them to recognize that they will only find lasting respect and protection once they choose to put the gun down.”
Eighteen defendants have been adopted for federal prosecution and 52 other arrests are currently being reviewed to determine whether they can be prosecuted federally.
The task force, announced on July 7, is operating as a 60-day surge of agents from federal agencies to target violent offenders.