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Buffalo reducing number of homicides

   There were 37 homicides in the city of Buffalo in 2008.

   The tragedy is that 37 lives were needlessly ended by other human beings.

   But, on one level, there's lots of reason for hope in that figure.

   That's because it's been slashed in half from the 74 people killed by homicide in Buffalo only two years ago in one of the city's bloodiest years on record. And down again considerably from the 55 homicide victims in 2007.

   Mayor Byron W. Brown and city police brass credit the citizens of the city with making the streets safer by opening up to police and providing them with information that has dramatically helped homicide investigators.

   Officials also point to newfound methods of policing the city, such as surveillance cameras, intensive crackdowns on illegal narcotics, the mayor's Gun Buyback Program along with partnerships between City Hall and neighborhood block groups and anti-violence organizations.

   All told, Buffalo had the lowest 2008 per-capita homicide rate when compared to the cities of Rochester, Syracuse, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.

   Are the last two years just a fluke or have we recaptured our moniker as "The City of Good Neighbors?"

  -- T.J. Pignataro

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Crime & Courts
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