(WETM) – With a growing threat of violent crime in the City of Elmira, local law enforcement officers are responding and suggest that many of the recent reports are targeted incidents. In 2020, there were 82 reports of shots fired, but through September 2021, there have been 85.
“There’s no legitimate purpose for it other than to try and scare and intimidate other people,” Chief Anthony Alvernaz, City of Elmira Police, said.
The Chemung County Sheriff’s office assists in these types of reports, pulling officers from other parts of the county to the city. The Sheriff also added that these incidents typically occur during the overnight shift, which limits resources in rural areas of the county.
“I think in almost every one of these cases, there are very specific targets. These are issues between one or more parties,” Sheriff William Schrom added.
Across New York, there has been an uptick in violent crimes. In Buffalo, there have been 241 shooting incidents with injury this year. Similarly, Rochester has had 237 and Syracuse has had 81, according to New York State.
On Saturday morning, Elmira Police responded to three shootings within hours of each other. How does Elmira compare with other areas of the Southern Tier? Hornell Police reported zero reports of shots fired and Elmira Heights reported five calls, but none had substantiated evidence that a gun went off.
“I’m thankful to be in a more rural county, but again, it’s been our experience that what’s in Elmira today is here in five years,” Steuben County Sheriff Jim Allard continued.
All three law enforcement experts say organized crime is the cause of the continued violence in the city.
“Some of that [violence] could be associated with gangs,” Sheriff Schrom added.
Chief Alvernaz added that some organized crime has tried to move into the city, but local residents and law enforcement are working to stop the spread of this violence.
“We’ve had some criminal elements that have tried to kind of get a foothold here in the city, and they’re getting pushed back by the local individuals in addition to law enforcement,” Chief Alvernaz said.
The shooting incidents come from across the city and are not limited to one neighborhood. Elmira Police continue to assure residents that they are safe.
“These neighborhoods are safe, we just have certain, certain hotspots within and that need to be addressed and mitigated,” Chief Alvernaz concluded.