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Strike Force, the police task force that pounced on criminals during two 100-day periods last year, is back – and this time for good.

Composed of Buffalo police officers, state troopers and Erie County sheriff’s deputies, Strike Force will flood the city’s high-crime hot spots starting today to shut down criminal activity as soon as intelligence emerges to identify those areas.

“Strike Force is highly mobile, so patterns of deployment will vary, and the criminal element will be kept off guard,” Mayor Byron W. Brown said. “The criminals won’t know where it’s coming from or when it’s coming.”

Results from Strike Force actions last summer and again in the fall justified making the unit permanent, Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said.

“It has been highly effective and now, on a full-time basis, we are expecting even better results,” Derenda said.

In 2012 operations, Strike Force members:

• Arrested 3,251 individuals.

• Removed 44 illegal guns.

• Seized $74,356 in cash.

• Impounded 1,850 vehicles.

• Issued 12,129 traffic summonses, 106 quality-of-life summonses and 313 parking tags.

Strike Force is starting before the warmer months, when crime traditionally increases, to focus on gangs, drugs and illegal guns, and it is just one part of a multipronged approach aimed at reducing crime, the mayor and commissioner said.

“It’s going to put a lot of pressure on criminals, and it is going to send a clear and ongoing message that criminal activity is not going to be tolerated in the City of Buffalo,” Brown said.

Residents who pass along reliable information on criminal activities to the department’s confidential TIP-CALL line, 847-2255, can expect a rapid response, the mayor said.

“Citizens absolutely have a role to play. It’s always helpful and part of the mix that is utilized in going after the criminal element,” Brown said.

Other specialized police initiatives will also be unveiled in the coming months, the mayor added, including a sixth gun buyback program that will take place in early May.



email: lmichel@buffnews.com