ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)–Governor Hochul said keeping New Yorkers safe is her top priority. Before any legislative changes are made, lawmakers want to make sure decisions are based on data.

In a hearing with members of the Assembly and the Senate, among those who spoke were the heads of the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. They broke down information collected from over 500 law enforcement agencies across the state.

Commissioner Rossana Rosado began her testimony by saying, “New York remains the safest large state in the country and incarcerates the fewest people. According to the most recent national statistics.”

Rosado said from 1999-2021, the total number of index major crimes in New York decreased by 43%.

But early numbers from 2022 show a different story. DCJS said reported crime increased in the first three quarters of last year.

“Through September of 2022, State wide crime increased 29% with violent crime increasing 16% and property crime increasing 33% compared to the same period in 2021,” said Rosado.

During the hearing, Senator Jamaal Bailey asked Executive Deputy Commissioner, Joseph Popcun, about GIVE and SNUG programs that aim to eliminate gun violence.

“Correlation is not causation,” Popcun replied. “We’d have to work with a research partner to do an evaluation, which we are doing on a lot of our SNUG programs, but it is fair characterization to say the presence of the SNUG PROGRAM, or the presence of our Gun Involved Violence Elimination Program, does coincide with a decrease in violent crime.”

On Wednesday, Governor Hochul will deliver her budget presentation, which is expected to mention her plans for bail reform and her investment in gun violence elimination programs.