A person was shot in Buffalo every other day during the first two months of the year.
Four people died from gunshot wounds.
While many of the shootings occurred on the East Side of the city, when you plot them on a map, it becomes evident that gunfire is a part of daily life across the city.
“We hear gunfire all the time in the community,” said Murray Holman, who heads a group that goes out on Buffalo’s streets every day to try to curb violence.
At least 34 people were shot in Buffalo in January and February, according to statistics The Buffalo News compiled from Buffalo police reports.
Victims were wounded from the West Side to the East Side, and also in North Buffalo.
Not all reported shootings resulted in injuries. Shots were fired without injuries at least 26 times in the first two months, according to police reports.
Many of the 60 incidents of gunfire occurred as the result of gang activity, community leaders say.
The Rev. James Giles, who coordinates a coalition of anti-violence groups known as Peacemakers, said he believes about half of all shootings stem from gang activity, like turf disputes or retribution for previous crimes.
The other half he characterizes as “incidental,” meaning gun violence that erupts during disputes when guns are available.
Much of the gang activity is fueled by Facebook communications, according to both Holman and Giles.
“There is no pattern to this stuff,” Giles said of the city’s gun violence. “So much of it is spontaneous.”
Data for this story was compiled from Buffalo police reports made available to The News at Buffalo Police Headquarters. The News attempted to obtain information missing from some reports through follow-up requests with a police spokesman but received no reply.
The News made numerous attempts over several weeks to speak with officials from the Buffalo Police Department about the data, but no interview was granted.
In the first seven days of the year, at least nine people were shot in Buffalo.
From Jan. 17 through Jan. 22, at least one person was shot every day.
There were fewer shootings with injury in February, but about the same amount of reports of houses and vehicles struck, compared to January.
The ZIP code where the most people were shot over the two months was 14211, an area on the city’s East Side.
That ZIP code, along with 14215, are the two areas where the city and community groups are focusing efforts to defuse feuds and retaliatory strikes, said Giles.
In addition to the 60 shootings during the two months, guns were used to commit a crime or recovered on at least 64 other occasions.
When mapped, the area of the city with the highest density of gun crimes so far this year is a section of the East Side bounded roughly by East Delavan Avenue, Walden Avenue, Grider Street and the city’s border with Cheektowaga.
Generally speaking, the amount of gun violence in Buffalo is down in recent years, said Holman, who for seven years has led the Stop the Violence Coalition.
But there’s a new crop of young people, from about age 10 to 14, whom anti-violence groups need to reach out to as part of overall prevention efforts, Holman said.
Buffalo police have been working with organizations in the community, and there have been reductions in violence on city streets, he said.
“It’s a collaboration and it’s working,” he said.
In 2015, the number of homicides in Buffalo, nearly all of which involved guns, was down over the previous year. Over the last 10 years, the city has averaged 52 homicides per year, according to department statistics.
Compared with the four people who were killed with a gun in the first two months of the year, Buffalo had only one gun-related homicide over the same period last year.