NEWBURGH – Law enforcement from the local to federal levels are encouraging the community of Newburgh to collaborate with them to combat gun violence in the city.
Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler, Tuesday, discussed the current statistics related to gun violence and gun homicide. He said as the state saw an increase of shooting and homicides by approximately 82 percent during 2019-2020, the City of Newburgh actually saw a decrease during the same time of approximately 13 percent. The other side of that; however, is Newburgh represents seven percent of the county’s population but is responsible for roughly 50 percent of gun crimes.
Hoovler said although the reduction is good news, especially during COVID when violent crime nationally has increased, local law enforcement has come to an impasse because most witnesses and individuals with information will not cooperate.
“In four out of five cases, or four out of five witnesses actually, that are interviewed, that are talked to regarding cases that have substantial information about the case, four out of five refuse to cooperate with the police, whether it be the local police, whether it be the state police, whether it be the district attorney’s office, or whether it be federal authorities,” said Hoovler.
The city and the entire region are trying their best to mitigate this issue and have partnered with the ATF (Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms) to gain access to some of their cutting-edge technologies.
Resident Agent-In-Charge for the ATF Brian DiGiorlamo said the partnership is going to allow local access to their E-trace network via the Hudson Crime Analysis Center, but they are also preparing to create a locally accessible National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN) system which will allow local law enforcement the ability to compare their own 3D ballistics evidence against a national database.
“We are in the process of setting up one of these NIBIN machines in the Hudson Valley Crime Analysis Center with the understanding that, at one point in the future, this will give direct access to local law enforcement to submit the ballistic evidence and obtain quicker responses from those analyses,” said DiGiorlamo.
Following the past weekend’s’ 28 ‘shots fired’ reports in the city, Mayor Torrance Harvey is pleading for an immediate ceasefire.
“We truly need a ceasefire in the City of Newburgh now and we know, once again, we cannot arrest our way through this problem,” said Harvey. “Therefore, we must reimagine how we can approach this matter and how to be creative and innovative with our thinking. We have to think out-of-the-box,” he said.
To encourage community support, the county will be holding two gun buy-back programs, one in the spring and one in the summer. Any individual who has an illegal firearm, if they call ahead, can sell that firearm to the police and receive no criminal charges for doing so. Additionally, the county will begin offering up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of local gun traffickers and illegal firearm possessors through the county DA’s office.