Syracuse Police Chief addresses rise in violent crime and the department’s strategy to prevent it

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — In the era of police reform, the Syracuse Police Department is making sure its policies are fulfilling its commitment and promise to the community, according to Chief Kenton Buckner.

In an interview with NewsChannel 9’s Adrienne Smith, Chief Buckner spoke about how the department is addressing the rise in violent crime and the ways they’re working to prevent it.

In January 2021, an 84-year-old retired schoolteacher, Eva Fuld, was murdered at her Grant Village Apartment.

Then in March, 93-year-old, Connie Tuori was found dead inside of her Skyline Apartment killed by 23-year-old, Victoria Afet.

Not even a month after that, 11-month-old Dior Harris was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting.

Those are just three of the lives taken this year from violent crime in the city of Syracuse.

“When you talk about how they died and the fact that they are a part of a vulnerable population, it’s concerning to police. It’s concerning to the community to see something like that happen.”

— Chief Kenton Buckner, Syracuse Police

Chief Buckner also agrees, Syracuse Police needs to be proactive in an effort to get ahead of crime.

We believe that the plan and resources that we have in place allows us to do that. That certainly doesn’t mean that we won’t have disappointments with some of the horrific things that we’ve seen happen, but we’ve made a lot of significant arrests this year. The officers continue to do a great job of getting in these areas and working with the community to try and prevent many of these crimes from happening.

Chief Kenton Buckner, Syracuse Police Department

2020 was a first where the community and law enforcement had to manage crime and a pandemic.

As we head into the summer, Chief Buckner says Syracuse Police are already pursuing ways to address the uptick in violent crime, including a gun violence suppression team and additional patrol officers in well-known public spaces.

We started this year, not on a good note. Our violent crime continues to be up. It’s up about 14% overall in violent crime, and certainly the homicides that we’ve had are very noteworthy and has caught everyone’s attention.

So, if you look at the early projections of the first quarter of the year, it looks like we’re heading towards a very challenging summer, which is why we’re trying to proactively put ourselves out at the right locations, addressing the individuals that are causing problems. We don’t want to be reactive this summer.

Chief Kenton Buckner, Syracuse Police Department

Chief Buckner is also hoping to continue to bridge that gap between police and the community, not just this summer, but in every circumstance.

“When we’re right, be very energetic about supporting us and when we’re wrong, be equally energetic about holding us accountable.”

— Chief Kenton Buckner, Syracuse Police

Each operation, policy, conversation and training are all in an effort to keep the streets and neighbors of Syracuse safe.

To watch more of the Chief Buckner’s interview, click the player below.

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