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Cuomo Visits Buffalo, Promises Help in Fighting Violent Crime

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is vowing to help upstate cities like Buffalo fight violent crimes. The newly sworn-in state leader met with Mayor Byron Brown and the police commissioner in Buffalo Monday. Cuomo says he was on a fact-finding mission to learn how he can help the city.

Cuomo told reporters guns, gangs and drugs remain a serious problem across the state. He says Buffalo is a perfect example. The murder rate climbed to its highest levels in almost a decade last year. And already into the new year, there have been three more killings.

Cuomo noted that much of the gang problem in Buffalo comes from New York City.

"They're coming out of New York City and going to Buffalo," Cuomo said. "But there is a disconnect. How do you get the intelligence and expertise in New York City to follow the problem. That's what we're going to work on with the Organized Crime Task Force."

Cuomo says as attorney general, he will focus on how his office can help Buffalo. He says the state's Organized Crime Task Force needs to partner with Buffalo so the city is not alone in trying to end the illegal sale of guns, and stop the growing rate of gangs and drugs.

Cuomo says local and state governments must work together and can't wait for federal help.

Mayor Brown says help from the state attorney general will offer additional tools to put pressure on criminals.

"We want to put pressure on the people who are bringing in illegal guns and drugs and who are trying to recruit for gangs in our community," Brown said.

Brown is also vowing to go after violent crimes more aggressively than last year. Cuomo offered kudos to the mayor for his plans to implement a gun buy back program this March.

The Attorney General says while it is not the only answer, a buy back program begins to take guns off the streets and out of homes from families who need money.