(WETM) – As the nation prepares to return to normal, some officials are worried about a rise in crime rates because people are leaving their homes and returning to normal. According to the New York Times, homicide rates in large cities are up nearly 30 percent last year and nearly 25 percent so far in 2021.
Local officials say there has been a rise in gun violence recently, which parallels the national trends. While the Twin Tiers return to pre-pandemic norms, local law enforcement is trying to find ways to combat violent crimes like gun violence, robbery, rape, and assault.
“When the pandemic hit and a majority of the population were staying home staying inside, we saw a dramatic drop in calls for service,” Anthony Alvernaz, interim City of Elmira police chief, said.
Now as the economy opens, people return to normal and the weather gets warmer, the department is concerned about a rise in crime. In 2019, the city saw a 19 percent increase in violent crimes. In 2020, there was a 29 percent decrease.
“Shootings have started to spike back up and I think we’re right around 85. In the last year, we’ve had seven homicides, which is a dramatic increase for us,” Alvernaz continued. “It’s almost triple our standard. We usually average about two homicides a year and a majority of these being gun-related.”
Gun violence and organized crime were identified as problems for the city in a recent interview with former Chief Joseph Kane. As the department evolves, they are working with community organizations and individuals to combat high crime statistics.
“If we don’t incorporate some changes and look at our strategies, I see us trending to have more assaults and violent crime reporting, much of it being the use of firearms,” Alvernaz concluded.