Syracuse, New York

Addressing gun violence through offender monitoring and engagement

Two officers conducting a traffic stop

Syracuse Police Patch

Site LE Agency
Syracuse Police Department

Site Researcher
The John Finn Institute

Site Focus
Gun Violence

SPI Strategy
Offender-focused policing, Hot-spot policing

Site Cohort

Site Profile
Mid-sized urban area of 25.61 sq. miles with a population of 143,378

Project Overview

The Syracuse Police Department and the Onondaga County Probation Department are utilizing SPI funds to adapt and apply offender-focused policing to gun violence in the city of Syracuse, and to enhance this form of policing by interweaving elements of other evidence-based innovations, particularly focused deterrence and management accountability. The operation is designed to resemble an enforcement action executed as a part of focused deterrence (or “lever-pulling”) in the aftermath of a group-involved homicide, but applied consistently and relentlessly to top offenders in 10 violent crime hotspots on the Southside of the city and 5-6 hotspots throughout the rest of the city, based on gun crime density. This operation provides for enforcement directed toward the most violent individuals, with advance notice that their involvement has earned them special attention.  The John Finn Institute, acting as the city’s research partner, will assess different risk prediction models to optimize the accuracy of the top offender list and, in addition, will update the list with greater frequency to take timely account of offenders’ status and field intelligence.  These procedures will allow the SPD to direct the most appropriate enforcement actions with greater focus.

Data Highlight

  • The 2015 violent crime rate in Syracuse was 68 percent higher than the rate for cities of comparable size.
  • The 2015 homicide rate in Syracuse was 147 percent higher than the rate for cities of comparable size.
  • The number of fatal and non-fatal shootings in Syracuse rose precipitously, with a 36 percent increase between 2014 (N=95) and 2016 (N=129).
  • In 2016, 43.4 percent of all shootings in the City were concentrated in the Southside, a 2.97 square mile area of Syracuse.
  • There are 22 identified gangs in Syracuse, 11 of which claim territory in the City’s Southside.
  • 63 percent of shooting in the Southside of Syracuse were gang related from 2014 to 2016.