New federal task force aimed to curb local gun violence announces 130+ arrests in first two weeks

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A federal task force aimed to curb gun violence in the region has made more than 130 arrests in the two weeks since it was launched, United States Attorney for the Western District of New York James P. Kennedy Jr announced Friday.

The data released is from the Federal Violence Prevention and Elimination Response (VIPER) Task Force, which went into action on July 7 in both Rochester and Buffalo.

Here’s what the task force says it was able to do between both cities (info is through Thursday)

  • Total Arrests – 138
  • Firearm-related arrests – 45
  • Narcotics Related arrests – 45
  • Violent Felony arrests – 38
  • Total Illegal Firearms seized – 22

The task force is currently operating on a 60-day mission. It’s a combination of Rochester Police, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office the FBI, the ATF, and the U.S. Marshals Service, among other groups.

It was created just as Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a disaster emergency on gun violence in the state of New York. Right now, Rochester has 40 homicides, with two coming after the task force was formed. At the time the task was announced, Rochester was on pace for a record of more than 70 killings, according to Kennedy.

VIPER Update Week 1 by News10NBC on Scribd

In 2019, the city saw 32 homicides, up from 28 in 2017 and 2018. In 2020, that number jumped to 52, an increase of 150% over three years, Kennedy said.

News10NBC emailed Kennedy’s office to see if it could break down specific numbers for Rochester, but a spokesperson said the office would not comment at this time. They told us numbers could be broken down after a few more weeks.