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Violent crime declined in January-June

Violent crime was down for the first half of this year in Buffalo, and it is expected to drop even further when the final numbers are in for 2010, according to semiannual FBI statistics and local authorities.

From January to June, Buffalo experienced a 4.1 percent reduction in reported violence compared with the same period last year. But when all of the figures are tallied at the end of next week, police anticipate an 8 percent drop for 2010, based on preliminary numbers.

Property crimes, including burglaries, larcenies and motor vehicle thefts, are a different story.

Property crime is up about 2.8 percent compared with the first six months of 2009. However, that percentage is expected to dip slightly to 1.4 percent by the end of the year, authorities said.

"We're seeing crime on a downward trend. We believe violence will be down 7 to 8 percent, and with some of our recent high-visibility initiatives we have seen property crime fall dramatically," Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said Monday. "Next year we're looking for even better results."

Deputy Police Commissioner Charles H. Tomaszewski also attributed the drop in violence to a more coordinated effort between local and federal authorities in going after street gangs and other criminals.

"We have more accountability in our management, and we are being more aggressive," Tomaszewski said, pointing out that earlier this year the department formed a violent crimes task force.

Buffalo's reduction in violent crime for the first half of 2010 parallels a national trend, with the city actually doing better. The country overall experienced a 2.8 percent decrease for the first six months.

In the city, there were a total of 1,769 violent crimes during the first six months, compared with last year's 1,842. Property crimes during the first six months numbered 4,293, while there were 4,056 during the first half of 2009.

e-mail: lmichel@buffnews.com

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