Exclusive: Rochester’s Most Wanted: VIPER Ride-Along
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — We are on pace to see the most shootings we’ve ever had in a single year here in Rochester. At our current rate, we could reach 70 murders by the end of the year.
To curb the violence, City, State, and Federal law enforcers have created what they call the VIPER task force. Its purpose is to zero in on and arrest violent criminals who are behind a bulk of the bloodshed.
News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke rode along with the VIPER taskforce to get an in-depth look at what they’re doing.
Police believe they know who dozens of the shooters are, the trouble has been finding them. Many of the suspects are repeat violent offenders who’ve skipped bail or bailed on their parole or probation officers.
VIPER is essentially a beefed-up version of the Fugitive Task Force. For the next 60 days, they’ve got more manpower and resources.
Many of the VIPER task force members are undercover, so News10NBC has blurred them all in the video above.
We rode along for a full day with the task force to see the kind of work they do.
Sometimes it is intel from a law enforcement source that leads the task force to a particular neighborhood or address; other times the tips come directly from the neighborhood through a Crimestoppers tip.
To see how the VIPER task force operates, click the video above.
So far in the Rochester region, the VIPER task force has made 69 firearm-related arrests, 41 drug-related arrests, 86 violent felony arrests and it has seized 61 illegal firearms.