With all of the violence within the City of Syracuse I felt it incumbent upon the PBA to place the blame where it should be and not on the shoulders of the brave men and women of the Syracuse Police Department. In spite of all the anti-police rhetoric and protests our officers are working diligently to protect the residents of Syracuse without the resources or support that is necessary. During previous administrations SPD always had a proactive unit assigned to target the most violent criminals in Syracuse. Whether is was DPD, DDT, NACS or CRT we always had a proactive unit. Due to those units our criminal element did not carry guns on their person but stored them for use by their specific gang.
Last year CRT was disbanded because some in the community didn’t like the appearance of the officers or the unit itself. The administration didn’t like the complaints from the community so CRT was disbanded and not replaced. This is similar to NYC disbanding their anti-crime unit recently, which has caused their violent crime to skyrocket.
Today our criminals are emboldened to carry weapons because they aren’t being stopped by police officers. Our patrol officers are running from call to call and don’t have the time to be pro-active so guns are everywhere. There are discussions at SPD now to create a pro-active unit but is it too little too late? The other problem is, with officers being under the microscope and protestors complaining without facts, calling for officers to be fired, will any police officers want to be assigned to the pro-active unit? The only way a unit similar to that works is with the support of the mayor and the chief of police. If this unit is formed complaints will certainly be made and the mayor and the chief need to be ready to support the officers.
This past weekend we had three homicides and over twenty separate shots fired calls. The homicide on Wolf Street had approximately 50 rounds fired. It is now common place to have 20 to 30 rounds fired at various scenes across the city. This is insane. Criminals willing to shoot other people are the problem, not our police officers. When there isn’t any value placed on a human life society has failed. Throughout the country cities are facing a huge increase in violence with no end in sight.
In Syracuse we also have seen a drastic increase of violent crime. Shootings with injuries or fatalities were 43 in 2019 but are totaling 97 in 2020, up 125.6% from last year. Persons injured or killed by gunfire are up from 52 in 2019 to 121 this year, for an increase of 132.7%. These figures are astonishing for our city. We can’t continue to have residents shot on a regular basis. Per capita Syracuse is as bad as Chicago. Overall crime is up in Syracuse from burglaries, up 33.33% to aggravated assaults, up 15.28%. Please reference our Syracuse PBA Facebook page for a chart with these statistics.
To make matters worse our detectives are receiving very little assistance from the community. If anyone believes that we are receiving cooperation they’re badly mistaken. During the infamous Rye-Day shooting we had nine persons firing weapons with hundreds of people in attendance but we didn’t receive one statement from a witness. We cherish cooperation from witnesses but we rarely receive any. Our homicide unit is making arrests in almost all of our homicides but it’s through boots on the ground hard detective work, not statements from witnesses. With young people willing to shoot anyone, anytime and the witnesses names now being released to the suspects due to bail reform, we really can’t blame witnesses for being fearful of retaliation. Having said that we still need the good residents to step up and assist the police. We are not the ones to fear, the criminals are. If you see something, say something. Our residents do not need to fear our police officers they need to fear the out of control violence within our city.
President, Syracuse PBA