Tag: Crime

Nov 3

2022

Blame the cops and DA, not bail reform

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The murder of Keaira Bennefield has become a rallying cry for opponents of bail reform.  Had her husband, Adam Bennefield, not been released after being charged with misdemeanor assault, she’d still be alive, they assert. But a half-dozen attorneys told Investigative Post the fault lies not with bail reform but Cheektowaga police and Erie County District Attorney John Flynn. Police and prosecutors could have charged Adam Bennefield with more serious crimes that would have made him bail eligible, befitting the assault on his wife a week before authorities say he shot her to death.  According to Judith Olin, director of[...]

Posted 1 month ago

May 14

2022

Deadly mass shooting on Jefferson Avenue

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Investigative Post occasionally does work for The Daily Beast, a national news site. On Saturday, we teamed up to report on the shooting at Tops Friendly Markets on Jefferson Avenue that left 10 dead, three wounded and an apparent white supremacist in custody. Here’s a link to the story, which identifies and profiles the Tops security guard who died in an exchange of gunfire with the killer. As his son told us, his father died a hero.

Posted 7 months ago

Oct 20

2021

Violent crime in Buffalo is declining, but still high

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Statistically speaking, Buffalo is safer today than it was when Mayor Byron Brown took office in 2006. But it doesn’t feel that way to Gayla Ross.  Ross lost her only son, Amir Jemes, in 2018. Jemes, 19, an aspiring musician, was shot and killed while being robbed on Littlefield Avenue on the city’s East Side. “Everyday somebody’s shooting, or somebody is getting shot, or somebody is dying, or somebody is getting robbed or mugged,” Ross told Investigative Post. “It’s not getting safer.” Citywide, however, violent crime is down substantially, as it is across the nation. An Investigative Post analysis shows[...]

Posted 1 year ago

Jun 23

2020

Pandemic cited as child porn complaints spike

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The COVID-19 pandemic has yet another dark side: child pornography complaints have doubled since March. The reason: children are home from school and frequently on their cell phones and other digital devices, making them more susceptible to overtures from predators. New York State Police report the number of complaints in March, April and May jumped from 1,339 last year to 2,640 for the same period this year. (No local data is available.) The increase is even more pronounced nationally, up from about 3 million last year to 7.7 million during the same period this year, according to the National Center[...]

Posted 2 years ago

Mar 22

2020

COVID-19: Arrests plummet in Buffalo

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Updated: 2:36 p.m. Crime is way down in the City Of Buffalo since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared. The number of daily arrests before the pandemic typically exceeded 20 a day, including a recent high of 37 on March 6. Arrests since Thursday have ranged from two to eight a day. Police say there’s one primary reason for the drop: businesses, which can be a magnet for criminal activity, have mostly closed.  “A lot of commerce has stopped,” said Captain Jeff Rinaldo. “A lot of crime occurs around commerce. If you don’t have commerce, you don’t have crime.” Gov. Andrew[...]

Posted 3 years ago

Feb 5

2020

Child pornography prosecutions on the rise

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Prosecution of child pornography cases spiked last year in Western New York. Between the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Erie County District Attorney, 80 cases were prosecuted last year. That’s almost double the number of cases prosecuted in 2017. “There are times where we’re finding child pornography involving children who are 10 or 12 months old. That’s very shocking, seeing those images and videos and trying to figure out why someone would have interest in that stuff,” said said Michael Hockwater, a detective on the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force. Cases the FBI task force handle range from a man who photographed[...]

Posted 3 years ago

Nov 13

2019

DA moving, judges lagging on bail reform

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 Erie County is ahead of the curve on bail reform. Changes in the law that take effect January 1 prohibit the imposition of cash bail on defendants charged with misdemeanors and non-violent crimes. But in Erie County, as of November 1, assistant district attorneys cannot ask for bail on those offenses without prior approval from a supervisor. “Come December first, only I can approve it,” said John Flynn, the Erie County District Attorney. “That’s how we’re phasing it in. Then come January, none of us can ask because the judges cannot do it.” He added: “Individuals who are charged[...]

Posted 3 years ago

May 23

2017

Heaney discusses homicides on WGRZ

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Jim Heaney tells Kelly Dudzik of WGRZ that Buffalo police have a poor track record of clearing homicides – generally solving a quarter to a third of murders in recent years. Departments nationally clear about 60 percent of homicides. Heaney’s comments were made in the context of plans announced by Common Council President Darius Pridgen to launch a newsletter that will feature murder victims. Pridgen, pastor of True Bethel Baptist Church, hopes the newsletter and a digital companion will help in some way to solve murders. Heaney and Steve Brown of WGRZ did stories in March of this year and[...]

Posted 6 years ago