Buffalo had one of the highest violent crime rates in the country last year, according to new FBI statistics.
Buffalo had the 11th highest rate among the nation’s big cities, with 1,288 violent crimes per 100,000 people, an analysis of the 2012 crime figures shows.
In comparison, Detroit had the highest crime rate of over 100 cities with more than 200,000 people, followed by Oakland; St. Louis; Memphis; Stockton, Calif.; Birmingham, Ala.; Baltimore; Cleveland; Atlanta; and Milwaukee.
Rochester had the 25th highest violent crime rate.
“Everybody has crime issues,” said Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda. “I can’t really comment on rankings or surveys, but I can tell you Buffalo is a safer place than it was in 2005.”
The commissioner said he watches Buffalo’s crime statistics closely and has seen crime, overall, fall by 20 percent in the city since 2005. Violent crime in Buffalo, he added, has decreased 14 percent during that same period.
“I think we’re doing very well,” Derenda said. “I think Buffalo is a safer place and a lot has to do with the initiatives that are in place.”
Derenda, for example, mentioned the recent gun buyback program, more police involvement with neighborhood block clubs and a joint agency strike force started last year to target crime in neighborhood hot spots.
One of the biggest factors has been Buffalo’s partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which is aggressively prosecuting gang members, who are responsible for multiple shootings across the city, Derenda said.
“I look at where we were yesterday and where we are today and we continue to get better,” Derenda added.
The FBI earlier this month released its Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report, which showed the nation’s violent crime went up in 2012 by 1.2 percent from the previous year.
In raw numbers, Buffalo had 3,380 violent crimes: 48 murders, 138 forcible rapes, 1,388 robberies and 1,806 aggravated assaults. The city also logged 13,454 property crimes: 3,976 burglaries; 8,371 larcenies and thefts; and 1,107 motor vehicle thefts, the statistics show.
The FBI statistics also include crime for communities of more than 100,000 people.
Amherst, not surprisingly, had one of the lowest violent crime rates in the nation last year, with 75 violent crimes per 100,000 people. In 2012, Amherst had seven forcible rapes, 28 robberies, 53 aggravated assaults and no murders, the statistics show.