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Spike in violence in Buffalo leads to renewed call for change

So far, there have been 31 homicides in the Buffalo this year. At this time last year, there were 17 homicides.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — There has been growing concern over the recent uptick in shootings and killings in Buffalo. Anti-violence groups say more needs to be done to address the violence.

Monday afternoon, anti-violence groups, such as Stop the Violence Coalition and Buffalo Peacemakers gathered at MLK Park. They prayed for homicide victims and survivors of recent shootings. They also talked about what specifically can be done to address violence in Buffalo.

"This is spontaneous combustible circumstances where individuals are coming together or individuals may have issues with each other or against another in a very spontaneous way deciding the way they’re going to use this is the use of hardware," said Pastor James Giles, the coordinator of the Buffalo Peacemakers. 

There have been 12 shootings reported over the last eight days — accounting for nearly 20 people being killed or hurt.

The latest was Saturday night, when three people were shot in the city. One of them was deadly and happened at a large block party on Koons Avenue near the intersection of Walden Avenue.

Detectives found a gun near the shooting but the killer is still out there.

Giles says he believes the coronavirus has had an impact. 

"Picnics, gatherings and all this kind of things that normally take place have not taken place over the last two months and so, now you’ve got opening up and people are cramming into these spaces with very low capacity to deal with each other," Giles said. 

Buffalo Police have said a number of incidents involving alcohol have led to some of the recent shootings and that there’s usually an uptick in crime due to warmer weather.

2 On Your Side asked the department about new strategies to address the violence. So far the Buffalo Police Department, according to Buffalo Police Captain Jeff Rinaldo, have used a detail to break up reports of large gatherings. 

Anti-violence groups say in the short term more enforcement needs to be done on large gatherings. And, more positive events for people, especially young people need to happen.

But, ultimately the groups believe it comes down to better education and more economic opportunities in impoverished communities.

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