(WETM) – Gov. Hochul said she hopes to build trust between communities and law enforcement in order to combat the rise in violence across the state. These remarks came in her press conference Tuesday just hours after being sworn into office. She believes forging trust will combat the root problems of crime. Local law enforcement says it will take more than trust to rebuild this relationship.
In Elmira, there have been three reports of shots fired over the last five days. In Steuben County, it is a similar narrative. There were 61 total arrests for crimes involving weapons or assault in 2020, but in 2021, there have already been 58 arrests.
The Sheriff’s Office hopes to work with the Hochul Administration to decrease violence in the Southern Tier. Steuben County Sheriff Jim Allard believes it will take more than trust between him and his community. He blames the Cuomo-era bail reform laws for the uptick in violence.
“I hope we stop releasing people from state prison due to their age or to the fact that there’s overcrowding. [We need to] come forward with common-sense method of meeting the needs of public safety, rather than just trying to meet the political needs of balancing a budget or appeasing certain political factions,” Sheriff Allard said to 18 News.
He continued to say there is an extreme lack of mental health and addiction resources available to residents who need them. According to the Sheriff’s Office, nearly 90 percent of offenders in Steuben County have treatable mental health conditions or are addicted to substances. In some cases, it is both, Allard said.
While bail reform is top of mind for Sheriff Allard, he hopes to work with the state to combat this problem. He continued to add that crime is not only a cyclical problem but a generational one where people continue to rely on crime to get by.