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Violent crime held steady in Syracuse in 2021; police chief says it's not enough

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Ellen Abbott
/
WRVO News (file photo)

Violent crime held steady for the most part in the city of Syracuse in 2021. According to statistics released by the central New York Crime Analysis Center, violent crime was up 2% in 2021 from 2020, and the number of homicides was 29, down two from 2020. Syracuse Police Chief Kenton Buckner said holding steady at this point is nothing to cheer about.

"Nationally some cities are up 30-40% in violent crime, so you think we’d be happy that we were up only 2%,” Buckner said. “But we know enough about the numbers to know that that 2021 versus 2020 comparison was one of the worst years we had for violent crime period, so there’s nothing to celebrate being only 2% over one of the toughest years you’ve ever had.”

Buckner said there is one trend in the statistics that is concerning.

“Our shooters and victims of shooters are getting younger and younger and it’s very disturbing,” he said. “Which is why programs like PAL (Police Athletic League) and being productive in the classroom is very important. We got off to a very tough year in our schools and the behavior of the kids.”

Buckner said more than half of the homicides occurred in the city’s southwest side. Among other things, he expects the department to conduct another gun buyback program to get illegal weapons off the streets.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.